Amazon says it will cover the entire cost of college tuition fees for 750,000 frontline...

midian182

Posts: 7,085   +62
Staff member
In brief: Amazon is attempting to throw off its reputation for treating employees poorly by offering to cover the entire cost of college tuition fees for 750,000 of its frontline workers. The move is part of Amazon's plan to expand its education and skills training benefits offered to US employees that will reach a total investment of $1.2 billion by 2025.

Amazon said the scheme would cover the cost of college tuition, fees and textbooks for warehouse, transportation, and other hourly employees in its operations network. Anyone wishing to participate must have worked for the company for at least 90 days.

The retail giant will also start covering the cost of high school diplomas, GEDs, and English as a Second Language (ESL) proficiency certifications. Additionally, the company is adding three new education programs to provide its employees with the opportunity to learn skills in data center maintenance and technology, IT, and user experience and research design. It previously offered to pay 95% of tuition, fees, and textbooks for hourly associates through its career choice program.

Amazon added that it plans to extend its free skills training to 300,000 employees, or about 30% of its workforce, over the next four years.

"Amazon is now the largest job creator in the US," wrote Dave Clark, chief executive of worldwide consumer at Amazon. "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."

Amazon will pay its employees' tuition and fees in advance rather than reimbursing them, which should help those staff who can't afford to start or complete courses.

"This new investment builds on years of experience supporting employees in growing their careers, including some unique initiatives like building more than 110 on-site classrooms for our employees in Amazon fulfillment centers across 37 states. Today, over 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we've seen first-hand how it can transform their lives."

Amazon is joining retail rivals Walmart, Target, and Kroger in offering educational benefits to workers. Walmart also said it would cover the cost of tuition and books for its hourly staff, while Target is to provide free undergraduate degrees to more than 340,000 workers.

Back in May, Amazon announced it was hiring 750,000 staff with a starting wage of $17 per hour. It also offered a sign-on bonus of up to $1,000 in some states. The company said this was in addition to its complement of full-time employee benefits that include health, vision, and dental insurance as well as paid parental leave and an attractive 401(k) plan with a 50 percent match.

Amazon is working hard to shake off reports of its toxic work environment. There have been claims of it firing pregnant women for taking too many bathroom breaks, aggressive anti-union measures, working conditions that are far from safe, and elevators used exclusively for products. There have also been numerous reports of staff urinating in plastic bottles as they don't have time or aren't allowed to go to the bathroom.

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cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,937   +6,267
What is a GED? When posting for a world audience, please don't use acronyms.
A cheap shortcut alternative for a high school degree.

Students can now take the GED test online.
 

Reehahs

Posts: 1,263   +930
That's a step in the right direction for Amazon.

If they get serious about improving education then they can put some of the fat cat private colleges in a serious mode.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,220   +5,974
This could actually end badly for Amazon. Once that many peole get college degrees, they'll likely be unhappy with the positions they hold. You could end up with, "all chiefs and no Indians".

IMO, too much education could be detrimental to the performance of a boring, repetitive, job.

But then again, it's the least they could do after having financed Bezos' dildo ride to space. (or somewhere near it).
 
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DukeJukem

Posts: 239   +243
Yet they won't give their employees a decent enough wage for them to possibly afford this on their own. It's basically the same thing as McDonald's with their "ways" of helping with college tuition.
 

waclark

Posts: 94   +58
This could actually end badly for Amazon. Once that many peole get college degrees, they'll likely be unhappy with the positions they hold. You could end up with, "all chiefs and no Indians".

IMO, too much education could be detrimental to the performance of a boring, repetitive, job.

But then again, it's the least they could do after having financed Bezos' dildo ride to space. (or somewhere near it).
Not really. Amazon is constantly hiring skilled technical workers for their cloud business. All that data analysis they use in the retail space also requires skilled workers to develop and deploy that technology.

Those boring, repetitive jobs are going away and Amazon will be at the forefront of that movement as well. They can use automation to do a lot of that.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,220   +5,974
Yet they won't give their employees a decent enough wage for them to possibly afford this on their own. It's basically the same thing as McDonald's with their "ways" of helping with college tuition.
The working truth there is, that nobody today can afford a college degree, without accumulating a lifetime mountain of deb.

Prove it to yourself, research the current price per credit hour in any "reputable", well known, university.
 

waclark

Posts: 94   +58
The working truth there is, that nobody today can afford a college degree, without accumulating a lifetime mountain of deb.

Prove it to yourself, research the current price per credit hour in any "reputable", well known, university.
There are many ways to get a college education or at least some assistance to go. My daughter went and came out debt free. She got some assistance from us for the first year but found a way to get a full ride to a private University, and not on a merit scholarship.

Amazon's plan is a good one. Many large employers will pay some or all of your college costs if you get training that can be used at that company.

Furthermore, I would suggest that not everyone needs a college degree and you can make really good money going to trade schools. There are union apprentice programs that will pay you while you learn.
 

waclark

Posts: 94   +58
Yet they won't give their employees a decent enough wage for them to possibly afford this on their own. It's basically the same thing as McDonald's with their "ways" of helping with college tuition.
You don't earn decent wages for having no skills. That is a notion that will never fly with business people. You want good pay, get some skills. It doesn't take a 4 yr degree to make well above minimum wage.
 

Toju Mikie

Posts: 214   +196
Not really. Amazon is constantly hiring skilled technical workers for their cloud business. All that data analysis they use in the retail space also requires skilled workers to develop and deploy that technology.

Those boring, repetitive jobs are going away and Amazon will be at the forefront of that movement as well. They can use automation to do a lot of that.
Sure, after buying up companies that were already doing this and incorporating them into AWS. AWS is like cancer
 

waclark

Posts: 94   +58
Sure, after buying up companies that were already doing this and incorporating them into AWS. AWS is like cancer
What small companies did Amazon buy that were paying full tuition? And even if they did, what’s the problem? Get your degree then leave.
You just can’t please some people.
 

Toju Mikie

Posts: 214   +196
What small companies did Amazon buy that were paying full tuition? And even if they did, what’s the problem? Get your degree then leave.
You just can’t please some people.
I was referring more towards your comment about their cloud business and them "hiring" technical workers.
There were many free/cheap cloud software out there that Amazon took over and then jacked up the prices. This includes a lot of the free IDEs/cheap cloud development environments that are no longer available.

What would be better for Amazon employees is to raise the employees' wages and then let the workers decide to use the extra money for school, or get certifications, etc. Also treat employees better, let them unionize, and stop breaking OSHA laws and let them use the restroom when needed.
 

waclark

Posts: 94   +58
I was referring more towards your comment about their cloud business and them "hiring" technical workers.
There were many free/cheap cloud software out there that Amazon took over and then jacked up the prices. This includes a lot of the free IDEs/cheap cloud development environments that are no longer available.

What would be better for Amazon employees is to raise the employees' wages and then let the workers decide to use the extra money for school, or get certifications, etc. Also treat employees better, let them unionize, and stop breaking OSHA laws and let them use the restroom when needed.
"Free, cheap cloud software" What specifically are you talking about? For an enterprise class product you're not getting free or cheap.

The Amazon employees I know make a ton of money. You seem to be jumping from AWS cloud to Amazon warehouse workers. And, sorry to say, no one is going to raise anyone's pay to be able to afford college tuition, certainly not for jobs that require basic skills. It's a good offer from Amazon and they should be praised for doing it. So many people complain about working for minimum wage, here's a way to get some skills that will get you paid much better than minimum. What's not to like about that? Other than just complaining to be complaining.
 

Toju Mikie

Posts: 214   +196
"Free, cheap cloud software" What specifically are you talking about? For an enterprise class product you're not getting free or cheap.

The Amazon employees I know make a ton of money. You seem to be jumping from AWS cloud to Amazon warehouse workers. And, sorry to say, no one is going to raise anyone's pay to be able to afford college tuition, certainly not for jobs that require basic skills. It's a good offer from Amazon and they should be praised for doing it. So many people complain about working for minimum wage, here's a way to get some skills that will get you paid much better than minimum. What's not to like about that? Other than just complaining to be complaining.
One software that I remember using frequently was Cloud9 IDE which was bought and integrated into AWS. There were many low-cost software out there that offered even better support and features than AWS that Amazon bought and integrated into AWS (and then remove those features). I think AWS has made the Internet as a whole worse for this reason and a few others. One of the only things that AWS has for them is really their 99.9-99.9999% uptime.

This tuition assistance for their hourly employees is a good start but won't do much to help Amazon's 150% turnover at their company.