Amazon’s New Workers Perk: Free College for Hourly Employees

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Amazon announced that it would would fund full college tuition for its 750,000 operations employees across the U.S. through its Career Choice program, with a total investment of $1.2 billion by 2025.

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The company also said it will fund high school diplomas, GEDs and English as a Second Language proficiency certifications for its front-line employees — including those who have been at the company for just three months, according to a press release. All 750,000 U.S. hourly employees are eligible to participate in Career Choice 90 days after starting at Amazon. This makes all 400,000 employees who joined the company since the start of the pandemic eligible to access Amazon-funded education opportunities, according to the release.

“Amazon is now the largest job creator in the U.S., and we know that investing in free skills training for our teams can have a huge impact for hundreds of thousands of families across the country,” Dave Clark, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, said in the release. “We launched Career Choice almost ten years ago to help remove the biggest barriers to continuing education — time and money — and we are now expanding it even further to pay full tuition and add several new fields of study.”

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 Amazon is joining rivals Walmart and Target, as the companies announced similar efforts earlier this year.

Last month, Target said that starting this fall, it would offer a new debt-free education assistance benefit to its 340,000 full-time and part-time team members at stores, distribution centers and headquarters, according to a press release. Target said it was investing $200 million in the program over the next four years.

And in June, Walmart, the largest U.S. private employer, announced it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for associates through its Live Better U education program. The company will invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development, according to a statement.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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