Amazon Career Choice Program

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Amazon Career Choice Program

Postby quantus » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:54 pm

Dear Customers,

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.

One area where we've seen particular success is our fulfillment center network. Sustained innovation inside our fulfillment centers has driven improved reliability, accuracy, and speed of delivery, as well as productivity and safety. Our high productivity allows us to pay our fulfillment center employees 30% more than traditional physical retail store employees while still offering customers the lowest prices. Our 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.

Our bias for reinvention extends into our recruiting teams. For most of the year, our full-time fulfillment center employees can keep up with customer demand. But during the holiday gift-giving season, our peak needs temporarily double, and we employ many more people. Our seasonal recruiting program called CamperForce — where RVers combine work with camping — has been very successful and much written about in the media. And our military veteran recruiting program effectively helps vets transition into the civilian workforce. Amazon was recently named the #1 Top Military Friendly Employer by G.I. Jobs Magazine.

Those are just a few examples, and innovation doesn't stop. Today, we're announcing our newest innovation — one we're especially excited about — the Amazon Career Choice Program.


Learn more about the Amazon Career Choice Program

Many of our 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. We want to make it easier for employees to make that choice and pursue their aspirations. 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. 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.

Like many of our innovations at Amazon, the Career Choice Program is an experiment. We're excited about it and hope it will pay big dividends for some of our employees. This is one innovation that we hope other companies in this economy will copy.

Thanks for being a customer,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO


Thoughts/comments? Sounds like an interesting way to get people retrained for the future economy.
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Re: Amazon Career Choice Program

Postby quantus » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:56 pm

What are the maximum benefits under the program?
Amazon will pay up to 95% of the tuition, textbook and associated fees up to a maximum of $2,000 per year for four years.

Is this enough to cover most of the costs of these programs? At a community college even?
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Re: Amazon Career Choice Program

Postby Jonathan » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:33 am

If you click on the link, it says they only reimburse for certifications or associate's. Catriona says it is telling that they consider the degrees that lead to jobs are not Bachelor's/Master's. Also, Starbucks has I guess what is supposed to be a traditional reimbursement program for $500-$1000/year, depending on length of employment. At Starbucks you must study something that will lead to a career at Starbucks: finance, food science, agronomy, law or music
theory, but they reimburse for Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degree programs. On the one hand, she wants people to get Bachelor's/Master's. On the other hand, she wants people to get jobs.

Regarding the cost, it depends on the state. In Oregon, the fee was $70/credit, or $3360 for full-time. Now it is $82/credit. So, for someone who is going half-time at night, they'll pretty much get the 95% of the costs, less any opportunity costs (babysitting, transit, etc). In California, you pay $36/unit so perhaps you could take more courses.
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Re: Amazon Career Choice Program

Postby quantus » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:08 am

I think most companies will pay for advancing your career with that company because they can write it off on their taxes. Being more open about the career choices like Amazon, is rarer for that reason. Actual degrees would be better, but too many degrees don't return enough. You could always go back to school yet again once you have a better paying job from this program I guess. In that way it's a stepping stone so you don't have to come up with a bunch of cash from a crappy paying job to get your degree. You come up with a little bit of cash to earn more which can pay for a BS. And you can generally get paid positions for an MS/PhD after that in STEM fields. Well, maybe not Math, but STE at least.

Graduate hs at 18, work for amazon for 3 years, then get your certificate in 2 more years, then save for a couple years, spend 4 years getting getting BS and you're only 5+ years behind those who went straight to college after hs...

Amazon's calculation seems to be straight bang for buck. If the person you help gets say 15k more/year for only 2k/yr, that's multiplying your investment by 7.5x. You couldn't get that multiple by straight subsidizing a BS. That extra earning power, increases the size of the overall economy by a multiple of that earning power really. Amazon gets some percentage of the overall all spending so they're getting some chunk of that 2k/yr back in increased revenue eventually.
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