THE Amazon is offering to cover college tuition for the majority of its approximately 750,000 hourly workers in the United States, the last major employer to offer the advantage of attracting and retaining employees in a tight job market.
Beginning in January 2022, Amazon will, for the first time, pay tuition, fees, books, transportation, and other items for employees who want to earn a bachelor’s degree. It will also begin covering high school diploma programs and English as a Second Language (ESL) certifications for employees.
Amazon employees who have been with the company for at least 90 days will be able to use the benefit, and employees must continue to work part-time or full-time at Amazon while attending classes. Workers at Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, are not eligible.
Amazon has not offered to cover bachelor’s degree programs for its employees in the past, but it did have an existing benefit to cover tuition costs for two-year degrees and certifications at partner schools such as the University of Maryland online program and Miami Dade College.
His move to add four-year degrees to his package comes as rival employers like Walmart and Target strengthen their university benefits programs for workers.
Walmart said in July that it was taking away the previous $1 a day paid by its employees who want to graduate from ten academic partners and would also begin to cover the costs of their books. Walmart has around 1.5 million workers.
Target announced in August that it will pay tuition and books to its more than 340,000 workers at about 40 partner schools. The company also said it will pay up to $10,000 a year for master’s programs within its network of partners.
lack of employees
Amazon’s move comes at a time when retailers and warehouses across the country face challenges in hiring employees for stores and warehouses. In July, there were 879,000 unfilled jobs in the retail sector and 222,000 in the transportation and storage sector, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Amazon said in May that it was hiring 75,000 workers in its logistics network and raising the starting wage from $15 to an average of $17 an hour. The company is also offering membership bonuses of up to $1,000 to attract workers.
“We’re spending a lot of money on subscriptions and incentives,” said Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, in July. “It’s a very competitive job market out there. And certainly the biggest contributor to the inflationary pressures we’re seeing in the business.”
Amazon also announced on Thursday that it plans to train 300,000 employees for high-growth, high-skill jobs within the company over the next four years, building on a promise made in 2019 to train 100,000 workers for new positions.
Amazon offers in-house training programs for roles such as software and IT engineers, data center technicians, researchers and designers.
(Translated text. Read here the original in English.)