Amazon is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to training—quite literally. In his annual letter to shareholders, the company’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said his belief in the power of training and educating employees is reflected in one of the company’s largest employee initiatives: its career choice program. As part of the initiative, the company will pay for 95 percent of the education costs—up to $12,000 over four years—for hourly associates with one year of tenure to earn "certificates and associate degrees in high-demand occupations such as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, and nursing." Amazon says the program is unique and is unlike other types of continuing education initiatives. "We exclusively fund education only in areas that are 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," according to company materials. The company understands that this type of training could lead to turnover, but feels that risk is worth taking to improve the lives of employees and improve the communities in which they live. "We offer training paths that could very likely lead to opportunities and careers outside of Amazon, but we think if we can help people realize their dreams, we want to be a part of it," said Juan Garcia, global leader for Associate Career Development.
Amazon Offers Unique Continuing Education Program