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Prioritizing Employee Career Journeys

Amazon introduced Career Choice to support the career development goals of its employees. Through scalable partnerships with educational institutions and businesses, Career Choice helps prepare Amazon’s hourly employees for in-demand careers – in the company or elsewhere.

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We recognize that when many people come to work at Amazon they come here for a long-term career. But others come here and see Amazon as a stepping stone. We invented Career Choice to be one of those very important steps in their personal career journey.

— Beth Galetti, Senior Vice President, Amazon Human Resources
18% growth

in health care jobs by 2026

The Challenge

Hourly employees are looking to progress professionally and learn new skills, and various industries and organizations across the United States are struggling to find motivated and skilled talent – but pairing these needs is difficult.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that health care occupations (such as nurse and dental hygienist) will grow at an 18 percent clip and add 2.4 million jobs by 2026, faster growth than any other of the bureau’s recorded occupations and driven by the aging population.

IT and computer science roles are projected to grow 13 percent, with 554,000 jobs added by 2026 and a robust average salary of more than $84,000. Transportation and material moving jobs will increase 6 percent and add 634,000 jobs by 2026, and mechanical and skilled trades are following the same trajectory.

The Solution

Amazon created Career Choice to support the career aspirations of its hourly employees. The program exclusively funds fields of study aligned to in-demand jobs. The program pre-pays 95% of tuition and associated costs so employees can train for new careers in healthcare, IT, and advanced manufacturing, among other well-paid and exciting opportunities.

Not only do employees gain access to credentials and education in-demand, but Amazon also makes it easy for them to get that training by holding classes onsite in Amazon facilities. Amazon works with educational institutions, workforce and staffing agencies, and local and national employers to provide end-to-end services, supporting employees from program enrollment through to graduation and job transition.

A Unique Approach

Amazon collaborates with business and industry associations to understand the talent needs of today’s economy and works with its education partners to ensure the curriculum offered aligns to those needs.

Once employees graduate from the program, they gain access to potential jobs through career fairs and workforce staffing agencies, bringing their future employers directly to them.

For example, the aerospace industry has anticipated nearly 2,000 open jobs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Last spring, Career Choice partnered with local training providers and aerospace companies to train interested Amazon employees as aircraft assemblers. By the fall, more than 60 Amazon employees had successfully completed the aviation maintenance technician program (AMTP) and moved on to higher paying careers in the aerospace industry.

over 16,000

participants in the Career Choice program to date


career path options available to participants


classrooms onsite at fulfillment centers

Removing Barriers

Going back to school can be expensive. Amazon pre-pays 95% of tuition fees to make it easier for associates to enroll in the program.

Getting to class is a common barrier many working adults face. Amazon has built more than fifty classrooms at its fulfillment centers to address that challenge, in addition to supplying online class options. The “fishbowl style” brings the classroom directly to the workplace while also inspiring new Amazonians to enroll in the program.

A third barrier is scheduling. Associates lead busy lives and Amazon recognizes that class times may conflict with work schedules. Career Choice’s school accommodation policy gives full time employees the flexibility to manage their work and educational commitments.

Supporting the Transition

Making the transition to a new career can be complicated. Amazon offers job readiness resources, like interview prep and resume writing, led by both Amazon and strategic community agency partnerships. Free of charge, these workshops help employees master the hard and soft skills that give them the qualifications and confidence to take that next step in their career journey.

How is this model repeatable?

While this model might not be for every company, there are lessons other employers can learn and apply to similar programs.

  1. Amazon understands that their hourly employees do not necessarily aspire to be in that position forever. They embraced this fact and, in line with corporate values, created a program to support the educational career goals of those employees while also supporting the needs of outside employers struggling to find the talent they need for in-demand careers.
  2. Amazon reviews labor market statistics and strategically partners with education, workforce, and community organizations to ensure that the programs they are funding directly align to real job opportunities in the community.
  3. Research shows that employees deeply value the opportunity to keep learning and growing and to become better versions of themselves–it’s a source of profound meaning for them. Amazon supports their employees with opportunities for continuous personal and professional growth.

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