GRCC, GVSU partner with Amazon's Career Choice program to help employees earn degrees, career skills

More and more companies are finding ways to provide free or affordable ways for employees to earn degrees and gain skills so they can grow their careers. 

Locally, a good example is Amazon’s new partnership with Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University through Amazon’s Career Choice program, which provides Amazon’s hourly employees access to credits for transfer or degrees and career-focused certificates.

The Career Choice program is an Amazon education benefit empowering employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere.

West Michigan partner

GRCC and GVSU are among 140 colleges and universities in the nation, and four in Michigan, to partner with the company.

“Amazon and employers across West Michigan partner with GRCC to help residents gain in-demand skills and grow a talented workforce to strengthen our economy,” GRCC President Bill Pink says. “We are proud of our mission and history of being the place students of all ages turn to for degrees and career certificates to advance in their careers and support their families. GRCC students know we will walk with them and support them along the way to help them thrive.”

The program meets individual learners where they are on their education journey through a variety of education and skill-building opportunities including full college tuition, industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs, and foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas, and GEDs.

This year, the e-commerce giant announced it was expanding the program to provide limitless learning by eliminating a lifetime maximum on benefits, as well as lowering the time new employees become eligible. They now qualify after 90 days of employment instead of 12 months, according to the program's website.

Increase employee skills

In the United States, the company is investing $1.2 billion to increase the skills of more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs.

Amazon’s Career Choice program has a rigorous selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing partners that are focused on helping employees through their education programs, assisting them with job placements, and overall offering education that leads to career success.

“We’re looking forward to GRCC coming on board as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” says Tammy Thieman, Global Program Lead of Amazon’s Career Choice program.

“We’re committed to empowering our employees by providing them access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that’s with us or elsewhere. We have intentionally cultivated a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources, and continuous improvements to the experience. Today, over 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice, and we’ve seen firsthand how it can transform their lives.”

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