OCCC Included in Amazon Partnership to Bring Employees Tuition Relief Nationwide
(Featured photo: Amazon’s Troutdale, Oregon warehouse/fulfillment center (“DC”) seen from street – Photo by Tedder, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Last fall, Amazon announced a $1.2 billion investment in its employees and their college tuition. Now, Amazon has partnered with more than 140 colleges and universities nationwide to provide hourly employees with the opportunity to access higher education.
According to Gallup.com, Amazon conducted a poll in June of 2021, in which 69% of adults in the U.S. that are employed are more likely to leave their current positions for an employer that offers upskilling programs—training or education that teaches new skills or advances existing skills.
Participants of Amazon’s Career Choice program can enroll in GED preparation and high school completion, as well as earn a bachelor’s degree and industry certifications in an outsourcing field, meaning high demand careers.
The announcement is a huge step for nontraditional students who may have otherwise never had the means to support their educational goals.
In the state of Oklahoma, Amazon has partnered with the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City Community College, Tulsa Community College and Rogers State University.
Oklahoma employees will also have access to education from online providers, including Southern New Hampshire University, Colorado State University-Global, Western Governors University and National University.
Amazon employs more than 12,000 people in our state alone and offers an average starting wage of $18 per hour, including comprehensive health benefits, paid time off, and up to 20 weeks of full paid paternity leave.
Employees that have worked for Amazon for a minimum of three months and are interested in applying to their school of choice can do so through the school’s Career Choice program.
Amazon also offers classes at over 100 Career Choice locations across the U.S. Classrooms are conveniently located at Amazon facilities so their work and school commute can be combined.
Royce Liston, Assistant Director of Recruitment Strategies at Oklahoma City Community College, says he continued to reach out to Amazon until the partnership was solidified.
“We ensured that, financially, our payment departments and our bursar’s department were set up to receive any payments from Amazon. Likewise, we made sure that Amazon had a list of those ‘high demand’ fields they were looking for that OCCC offered,” said Liston.
Liston said much of OCCC’s programming aligned with Amazon’s needs.
“A lot of our certificates are computer and IT related, and health professions. So cyber security, computer-aided technology, nursing, physical therapy, emergency medical tech, all of those would be examples of programs that Amazon would cover.”
Amazon employees have already begun to reach out to OCCC to explore their options and possibilities.
Other companies have also been partnering with schools nationwide, though Amazon tops the list at #1, reimbursing up to 95% of costs.
“Any employers that have tuition reimbursement, they are on our radar. Everything from Lowes, Home Depot, to Hertz Automotive, or Sonic and McDonald’s, they all have various components that are similar to this,” stated Liston.
“We certainly look forward to the opportunity to help out our community, and our local economy and workforce.”