Amazon Career Choice Expands to More Schools

Amazon partnered with additional schools for its Career Choice tuition assistance program, which helps employees pay for college degree and certificate programs.
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Published on September 13, 2023
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  • Amazon Career Choice expanded to Utah Valley University and Virginia State University, the schools announced in August.
  • There are more than 400 schools now participating in the company's tuition assistance program.
  • The program offers prepaid tuition, as well as reimbursement for books and fees.
  • Most U.S. hourly Amazon workers are eligible for the program after 90 days of employment.

More than 400 schools are now part of the Amazon Career Choice program, which pays for tuition for company employees pursuing higher education — and the company added even more colleges to the program this summer.

Virginia State University (VSU) and Utah Valley University are now partnered with tech giant Amazon as part of its tuition assistance program for employees, according to recent announcements from the schools.

The training program includes prepaid tuition, in-demand industry certifications, English and local language learning, and career coaching. The program also includes opportunities for employees to earn high school diplomas or GED certificates.

The program also includes reimbursements for books and fees, according to the VSU press release.

"With an Amazon fulfillment center less than 10 miles from campus, the decision to partner with them was easy so those employees can attend VSU and be a part of something greater," VSU Deputy Chief of Staff Rodney Hall said in the release. "Our goal has always been to make quality education more accessible and affordable, and this accomplishes that goal."

Wade Oliver, Utah Valley University's senior director of Adult Learner Support Initiatives, said in a Salt Lake Chamber release that the partnership would increase access to higher education.

"Partnering with Amazon's Career Choice program provides a tremendous tuition benefit for our students they might not otherwise have had access to," Oliver said in the release.

The program shows success, particularly for first-generation students, according to the Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver. Amazon Career Choice's MSU Denver program served more than 100 students in its first year and retained them at a 10% higher rate than the university's average. Eight out of 10 of those students were first-generation college students, according to a release from the school.

The program also includes training for companies outside of Amazon in a variety of fields like healthcare, Amazon Career Choice Senior Manager Jeff Bulanda said in the MSU Denver release.

"We pride ourselves on being more than just tuition assistance," Bulanda said. "We're just as excited to see someone successfully join the healthcare industry as we are to see them grow within Amazon."

The company began paying full tuition through the program last year and, in the U.S., is open to most hourly full-time and part-time Amazon employees after 90 days of employment. And the company said last year that there has been a major uptick in employees participating in the program since 2021.

More than 130,000 Amazon employees across the globe have so far participated in the program, which is part of a $1.2 billion upskilling investment on the company's part, according to the VSU release.

The tech giant has also invested directly in community colleges as part of its upskilling efforts. And last year, it announced three $1 million investments in Washington community and technical college groups to launch bachelor's degree programs in computer science and in other fields related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Amazon isn't the only major tech company looking to train workers in high-demand fields.

Google and Microsoft have in recent years dramatically expanded partnerships with higher education institutions as part of their own efforts to train workers in key fields like cybersecurity and information technology.