Amazon announced on Thursday that it intends to pay for college tuition for employees and also plans to fund the withdrawal of high school diplomas and certificates of English proficiency. The measure begins in effect in January 2022, and should reach 750,000 people working in the company in the United States. The planned investment for the program is 1.2 billion dollars until 2025.
“Amazon is now the biggest job creator in the US and we know that investing in free skills training for our teams can have a big impact for hundreds of thousands of families across the country. We launched Career Choice nearly 10 years ago to help removing the biggest barriers to continuing education, time and money, and now we’re expanding even further to pay full tuition and add several new study opportunities,” said Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer organization, in a statement.
US companies are expanding benefits and incentives to lure employees back into the workforce after a shortage. Experts heard by the BBC news agency explain that the fact that many have left the job market during the pandemic; persistent concerns about Covid and the lack of day care centers prolong labor shortages.
Among the companies that invested in benefits is Walmart, which also announced the payment of tuition and books to its hourly employees, with approximately 1.5 million people eligible. Target said it will offer free undergraduate courses to more than 340,000 workers. There are companies that have also raised starting salaries or offered bonuses, and others, such as McDonald’s, are asking 14- and 15-year-olds to apply for selection processes.
According to the US Department of Labor, job openings hit a new record of 10.9 million in July, surpassing the number of unemployed by more than two million.