Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced the Amazon Career Choice Program, an innovative new program designed to expand the choices available to its employees in their future careers, whether at Amazon or in another industry. Many fulfillment center employees will choose to build their careers at Amazon. For others, a job at Amazon might be a step towards a career in another field. Amazon wants to make it easier for employees to make that choice and pursue their aspirations.
“At Amazon, we like to pioneer, we like to invent, and we're not willing to do things the normal way if we can figure out a better way,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, in a letter posted on the front page of Amazon. “It can be difficult in this economy to have the flexibility and financial resources to teach yourself new skills. So, for people who've been with us as little as three years, we're offering to pre-pay 95% of the cost of courses such as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, nursing, and many other fields.”
The program is unusual because unlike traditional tuition reimbursement programs, Amazon will 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 the company will fund those areas regardless of whether those skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.
"I welcome Amazon's innovative initiative, which offers a new and exciting way for corporate support of employee education,” said Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire. “I hope that other companies follow Amazon's lead and I thank them for a creative new approach.”The Amazon Career Choice Program builds on a series of innovations at Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Amazon’s high productivity allows the company to pay its fulfillment center employees 30% more than traditional physical retail store employees while still offering customers the lowest prices. Amazon’s work on safety practices has been so effective that it’s statistically safer to work in an Amazon fulfillment center than in a traditional department store.
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