Amazon just made a big announcement yesterday that they are rolling out a 100% tuition program for all hourly employees in the USA. Here’s what we know so far…
Amazon’s Press Release 09/09/2021
Amazon’s “old program” was called Career Choice. Under their “old program” they covered about 95% of employee’s tuition and even had colleges hold classes ON SITE so employees could attend classes conveniently. They updated their website yesterday with two big banners at the top that announced 100% coverage and an offer to contact them about becoming a partner college. I have highlighted a few items in orange that I found especially interesting for our audience at Homeschooling for College Credit.
“Exciting changes are coming to Amazon Career Choice in the U.S. in January 2022.
1. What is changing?Amazon Career Choice is introducing several enhancements to the program on the eve of its 10th anniversary. These changes will go into effect by January 1, 2022:
- Increased Options: Employees can choose from a wider variety of education offerings including high school completion/GED, English as a Second Language (ESL), and bachelor’s degrees, in addition to the previously offered associate degrees and certificates.
- Fully Funded Opportunities: Up to an annual maximum benefit, Amazon will pre-pay 100% of tuition for you to pursue everything from bachelor’s degrees to certificates. Funds can be used for tuition, books and fees.
- Limitless Learning: Amazon will remove the lifetime maximum on Career Choice benefits. As long as they continue to work at Amazon and are an eligible employee, they can continue to use your Career Choice benefit with no lifetime limit.
- Fast Starts: U.S blue badge hourly employees (including part-time) will become eligible for Career Choice after 90 days of continuous employment (previously 12 months).
2. Who is this for? Career Choice is available to all full- and part-time blue badge employees. This includes all hourly non-exempt FC, CS, corporate, AWS, Amazon Fresh Stores, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, Amazon Pop Up, Amazon Go and certain retail and eligible subsidiary associates.
Subsidiaries includes A9, A100, A2Z, Audible, Brilliance, ComiXology, CreateSpace, Fabric.com, Goodreads, Amazon Pharmacy, Shopbop, Woot.
3. Where and when does this change apply?These changes will be available in the U.S. by January 1, 2022. We will provide a list of programs in your location as they become available here on www.AmazonCareerChoice.com. Eligible employees can log in to find more.
4. Is this available globally?These changes will launch on January 1, 2022 in the U.S. We have different partners and employee education priorities across the globe, and we will continue to explore potential changes to optimize our global offerings.
5. Why is Career Choice making these changes?Employees asked – we listened! They told us they would like greater program selection. We’re delivering enhancements to the program to provide a better experience for you.
6. How can employees apply?Eligible employees can explore program offerings, network schools, and apply to the Career Choice program by logging in at www.AmazonCareerChoice.com.
7. How will classes be delivered?Career Choice will continue to partner with pre-approved third-party educators. These educators will offer programs online, at their campuses, and/or at Amazon facilities. They can choose the program that is most convenient for them.
8. When will Career Choice classrooms be back in use?As soon as it is safe to bring our employees back into our classrooms, we will reopen them. Until then, we are working with our education providers to provide alternative online and off-site options.
9. Do employees have to complete studies within a specified period of time?The flexibility of our program allows active employees to pursue their goals at their own pace, taking as much or as little time to complete their education as their schedule and annual budget allow. They may continue to enroll in classes as long as they are employed at Amazon.
10. If employees have already participated in the program and used up their budget, can they still apply in the future?Yes! They may enroll again in the Career Choice program after January 1, 2022.
11. May an employee enroll in any training provider?Career Choice has a rigorous selection process for schools to join our approved network of education partners. To find partner schools in your area, visit www.AmazonCareerChoice.com. We are working to expand our network of schools so please check back regularly.”
Amazon’s website does not allow the general public access to their list of approved network education providers or the list of acceptable majors, however, based on their list of “in demand careers” below, we can assume that majors will intentionally target majors that meet internal demand.
It is common that companies want to train (and keep) talent, so setting parameters on major/college is pretty common. Still, Amazon’s list of “in demand careers” is very very broad and allows for hundreds of potential college majors and career certificates.
- Administration and Business Services
- Mechanical and Skilled Trades
- Information Technology
For what it’s worth, I found an old (2012) online interview asking Jeff Bezos about paying for employee’s majors when they launched the original version of Career Choice and he stated
“Unlike traditional tuition reimbursement programs, we exclusively fund education only in areas that are well-paying and in high demand according to sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and we fund those areas regardless of whether those skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.”
Just one more opportunity to make debt-free education a possibility!
I’ll keep you posted as more details are released.