When Sam Koch left the military, he discovered it was harder to communicate his Army experience to civilian hiring managers than he’d expected. Despite his veteran status getting him in the door at many companies, his interviews weren’t leading to job offers.
A family member referred Koch to Amazon, where he interviewed for an open role in his home state of Minnesota. His final interview was with an Amazon employee who had also served in the military, which instantly calmed him and gave him an extra boost of confidence. Knowing the specialized experience members of the military bring to a job, Amazon created a policy to ensure that all veterans interviewing for roles have at least one fellow veteran on their final interview loop.
“I knew he’d understand my background and what I could bring to the table,” Koch said. “I think about him often, and I pay it forward by always making myself available to interview new military and veteran candidates myself.”
Koch, who joined Amazon in 2022 as a Workplace Health and Safety manager, reflects our 2021 pledge to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses by 2024. Amazon has reached and surpassed this pledge, having onboarded veterans and military spouses worldwide.
“People with military backgrounds bring fortitude, agility, and adaptability to their work, all of which are core themes in Amazon’s Leadership Principles,” said Charlotte La Belle, senior manager of Global Military Affairs. “We are thrilled to have so many talented veterans and military spouses contribute to Amazon’s culture each day, and I congratulate the dozens of team members across Amazon who enabled us to reach this goal. We look forward to continuing to recruit and develop military talent who pursue secondary careers at Amazon.”
Amazon offers a range of career programs to assist transitioning service members and military spouses, including company-funded skills training through the Amazon Technical Apprenticeship Program and AWS re/Start. They can also take advantage of free upskilling opportunities through programs like Career Choice, Amazon’s prepaid tuition program for employees looking to move into high-demand occupations. Veterans and military spouses working at Amazon also have access to fellowships, mentorships, military spouse support, and deployment benefits.
Many military spouses join Amazon through the Military Spouse Fellowship program, a 12-week fellowship that enables them to access professional training, networking, and military spouse events, while gaining hands-on job experience.
Before Amazon, Tonya Schoenbeck, an operations manager at a fulfillment center outside Columbia, South Carolina, dealt with underemployment for many years. Schoenbeck has relocated eight times throughout her husband’s military service, including two cross-country moves over eight months. A self-professed “Jack-of-all-trades,” Schoenbeck said she decided to work at Amazon because she sees a path toward building a long-term career.
“Working here means learning something new every single day, and constantly growing in my role,” Schoenbeck explained. “It’s great too that when my husband and I move to Kansas later this year, I’ll be able to find a position at Amazon in that area. I don’t have to sacrifice the progress I’ve made just because he has been assigned to another duty station.”
Veterans and military spouses can also join Warriors at Amazon, an affinity group comprising Amazonians who have served, or are still serving, in their respective country’s military forces; military spouses; and all who support them. With over 600 chapters, this program aids veterans during their transition into the Amazon workforce by providing a professional network and community outreach opportunities.
Amazon also offers the Military Mentoring Program, which connects veterans new to Amazon with employees who have successfully transitioned from the military. Over the course of their first year, veterans can find trusted support while adjusting to Amazon culture and becoming effective leaders in their roles. So far, this program has helped more than 5,000 veterans transition into their roles at Amazon.
Maya Dixon, a former surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy who served aboard the USS Vandegrift and the USS Cape St. George, said her military experience helped her adapt when she transitioned into her tech role at AWS. Dixon searched Amazon’s “cleared jobs” page for roles that fit her skill set and found one focused on national security customers. She also received a promotion within a year.
“The resiliency I developed in the Navy combined with the sense of community I felt here right away helped me hit the ground running at Amazon,” Dixon said. “My teammates knew I was a veteran and went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed to succeed. Many veterans reached out and offered help as I navigated my job, including one person who served on the same ship that I had, 20 years before me.”
Read more about how Amazon supports veterans and their families: amazon.com/militaryjobs. To translate your military skills into open roles with Amazon, use the Military Skills Translator here: Amazon.jobs/military.