Amazon partnering with colleges across N.J. to fund tuition for local frontline employees

An Amazon facility. (File photo)

Amazon announced Thursday several partnerships with institutes of higher learning in New Jersey to cover tuition costs for frontline employees. The partnerships are part of Amazon’s initiative to expand career advancement opportunities it offers its 750,000 hourly employees in the U.S. by partnering with more than 140 national and local universities to provide fully funded college tuition.

In New Jersey, frontline employees will have access to:

  • Camden County College (Camden City and Blackwood campuses, the Rohrer Center);
  • Hudson County Community College;
  • Mercer County Community College (James Kerney and West Windsor campuses);
  • Middlesex College (Edison and New Brunswick campuses, Perth Amboy Center);
  • Rowan College at Burlington County;
  • Rowan College of South Jersey;
  • Rowan University;
  • Rutgers University – Newark.

The announcement is part of the company’s ongoing enhancements to Career Choice — an Amazon upskilling program designed to help frontline employees grow their skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere.

Amazon also partners with GEDWorks and Smart Horizons to provide employees with free high school completion and GED preparation, Voxy EnGen and goFLUENT to provide English language proficiency training and Outlier to provide college preparation courses.

“New Jersey’s community colleges are excited to partner with Amazon to assist their employees to gain new skills and to earn credentials and degrees relevant to the state’s economy,” said Aaron Fichtner, president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. “New Jersey’s community colleges are deeply rooted in their local communities and will provide Amazon employees with a high-quality foundation that will prepare them for further education and a successful career in a wide variety of fields.”

“Newark and our region are just brimming with diverse talent, and the key to cultivating that talent is creating opportunity,” said Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University – Newark. “That’s what Rutgers-Newark has always been about, and that’s why we’re thrilled to be a part of the coalition of colleges and universities across New Jersey partnering with Amazon on their Career Choice program. It’s creating opportunity by making a college education not only accessible, but affordable.”

“Empowering our frontline employees with educational resources and opportunities like this is exactly what we mean when we say we’re striving to be Earth’s Best Employer,” said Colin Newman, Amazon public policy director for New Jersey. “Amazon is very proud to be partnering with community colleges across New Jersey, Rowan and Rutgers-Newark to cover the costs of higher education, further training, and more. And this is just the start — we are looking forward to partnering with more Garden State schools in the months ahead.”

Frontline employees in New Jersey may also take classes offered by new national nonprofit education providers, including Southern New Hampshire University, Colorado State University – Global, Western Governors University and National University.

These new partnerships are part of Amazon’s continued investment in its Career Choice program, which now offers fully-funded college tuition, allows employees to participate every year they work at Amazon, and gives them eligibility after only 90 days of employment. Through Career Choice, employees can pursue a bachelor’s degree, earn industry certifications leading to in-demand jobs and build skills through English language proficiency and high school completion programs.

Career training is just one of the industry-leading benefits that Amazon offers to its team. In addition, Amazon pays employees an average starting wage of $18 per hour, which is more than double the federal minimum wage, and provides comprehensive health benefits, paid time off, up to 20 weeks of fully paid parental leave and additional benefits for employees and their families.