Beginning January 2022, hourly employees with at least three months’ tenure will be eligible to receive education benefits through Amazon’s Career Choice program. The e-commerce giant will fund college tuition, high school diplomas, GEDs and English as a Second Language (ESL) proficiency certifications for frontline employees, Chain Store Age reported.
Amazon follows Target and Walmart in recently offering tuition benefits to its employees.
In total, Amazon plans to invest $1.2 billion by 2025 to expand the education and skills benefits to U.S. employees.
In addition, the online retailer will pay employees in advance for their education costs rather than reimburse them. And frontline workers will have access to education funds as long as they work at Amazon, without a limit on the number of years they can benefit. Roughly 750,000 U.S. hourly employees will be eligible for the benefits.
Amazon already offers some education benefits to employees, after the company announced another program called Upskilling 2025, which included a $700 million commitment to train 100,000 U.S. employees by 2025 to help them transition into in-demand, higher-paying jobs, CSA reported.
With its new investment in education benefits, Amazon also launched three new programs around data center maintenance and technology, IT, and user experience and research design. In addition, there are three new upskilling programs plus Amazon Web Services (AWS) Grow Our Own Talent, which offers on-the-job training and job placement opportunities for Amazon employees and entry-level candidates for AWS roles.
“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,” said Dave Clark, CEO of worldwide consumer at Amazon. “This new investment builds on years of experience supporting employees in growing their careers, including some unique initiatives like building more than 110 on-site classrooms for our employees in Amazon fulfillment centers across 37 states.”
More than 70,000 employees have already taken advantage of Upskilling 2025 since Amazon launched the program in 2019. The new $1.2 billion investment will create benefits for roughly 300,000 employees over the next four years.