American e-commerce firm Amazon has announced that it will shoulder the college tuition of its approximately 750,000 hourly workers should they decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
The company said it is using its $1.2 billion investment in education and skills training to pay the tuition, books, and academic fees of frontline personnel employed for at least 90 days.
Employees must also continue working part-time or full-time at Amazon while taking classes to be eligible for the program. Amazon has also said it will pay the tuition in advance, so employees do not have to pay up front to begin their education.
According to Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky, the company has been providing increased incentives to its employees, as it recognizes that the labor market has become very competitive.
Aside from college tuition, Amazon will support personnel who wish to earn their high school diplomas and English as a Second Language (ESL) proficiency certifications. However, the company has yet to finalize the list of universities where its workers can utilize the benefit.
NEW: Amazon is investing ➡️ $𝟭.𝟮+ 𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗼𝗻 ⬅️ into the education and skills training for its U.S. employees, including:
🔶 Fully funded college tuition for front-line employees
🔶 Free skills training opportunities
🔶 3 new training programshttps://t.co/nS0q6yv8yP
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 9, 2021
In 2019, Amazon announced that it would be investing $700 million in training around 100,000 US employees for in-demand, higher-paying jobs by 2025.
Since the program was launched, more than 70,000 employees have participated in one of the nine upskilling initiatives.
Now that the company is investing more money in education and training, it has tripled its target to 300,000 employees, or over 30 percent of the firm’s current workforce in the US.
“Amazon is now the largest job creator in the US, 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,” CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, Dave Clark, said in a press release.