Amazon to Pay Full College Tuition for its Front-Line Employees
Amazon.com announced last week that it will pay full tuition — including the cost of books and fees — for its more than 750,000 front-line employees. The retail giant will fund the 2022 initiative by investing $1.2 billion to expand its education and skills training benefits program by 2025. Rather than offering reimbursement after coursework completion, Amazon will pay the fees in advance. The offer stands for those who have been working at the company for 90 days, including 400,000 employees who joined the company since the start of the pandemic.
Amazon said it's also adding three new education programs to provide employees with the opportunity to learn skills within data center maintenance and technology, IT, and user experience and research design.
“Amazon is now the largest job creator in the U.S., 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," said Dave Clark, Amazon's CEO of Worldwide Consumer in a press release.
Total Retail's Take: Amazon’s investment in free access to education programs for employees was announced after learning the results of the first-ever Amazon-Gallup American Upskilling Study, which showed how access to skills training can help companies recruit more workers and help workers build skills for rewarding careers. The analysis found that U.S. workers who completed upskilling programs over the past year have seen an average salary increase of 8.6 percent — the equivalent of an additional $8,000 in their annual earnings. What's more, the study found that currently 70 percent of workers interested in upskilling say they would switch to a new job if offered free skills training. For young adults entering the labor market, employer-funded upskilling is more important than paid vacation time, the study found. The move comes after other retail giants announced similar plans. In July, Walmart said that it would cover the cost of college tuition for 1.5 million employees, and in August Target announced that it would fund advanced degrees in 40 different institutions.
Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.