July 24, 2012 in Business

Amazon offering tuition program

Warehouse workers qualify for college aid
Andrea Chang Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – Want to work in one of Amazon.com’s warehouses? What if the company paid for the cost of your higher education?

The e-commerce giant on Monday announced its new Career Choice Program in a lengthy letter that was posted on its homepage.

To reward its hourly workers and help them learn new skills, Amazon said it would offer a tuition reimbursement program, paying up to 95 percent of the tuition, textbook and associated fees for such courses as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies and nursing.

The program, which pays a maximum of $2,000 per year for four years, is available for full-time hourly Amazon employees in the U.S. who have been with the company for at least three consecutive years. It’s intended to “expand the choices available to our associates in their future career, whether that’s at Amazon or in another industry.”

“The Amazon Career Choice Program provides associates with a resource for building the job skills needed for today’s most in-demand and well-paying careers,” the company said.

Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said that in the current tough economy, it “can be difficult” to have the flexibility and financial resources to gain new skills. He said the Career Choice program was unusual because 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.”

He noted that the program was an experiment, and one that the Seattle company hoped other companies would copy.

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