The classrooms look normal enough, but this isn’t your average school. The students are all Amazon employees looking to further their education by attending classes right inside our fulfillment centers across the country.
The program is called “Career Choice,” and it’s changing the lives of thousands of people. For former Amazonians like 28-year-old Jamie Davis, it’s a shot at a second career that once seemed out of reach.
“Once I got out of high school, I couldn't afford college,” said Davis.
Davis was working in an Amazon fulfillment center in California, helping research customer orders when she signed up for Career Choice. Davis said she loved working at Amazon, and when the chance came along to get an advanced education, she jumped at it.
“I couldn't help but take advantage of it. I don’t know who wouldn't want to expand their mindset and just go for it,” she said.
“If we can help people realize their dreams, we want to be part of it.”
Davis said she focused on healthcare because her mother suffered two heart attacks in six months. Because of the degree she earned through Career Choice, she now has a full-time job as a first aid instructor with the American Red Cross and feels incredibly lucky.
“People ask me all the time how I got this job,” said Davis,. “And I tell them Amazon got me the job! If they didn't have Career Choice, I would never, ever even know about going into the healthcare field.”
Through Career Choice, Amazon pre-pays up to 95% of tuition and fees towards a certificate or associates degree in fields ranging from IT and computer science to healthcare and transportation. The idea is to put people on a path towards well-paying, in-demand professions.
“We offer training paths designed to lead to opportunities and careers outside of Amazon,” said Juan Garcia, director of Associate Career Development at Amazon. “If we can help people realize their dreams, we want to be part of it.”
Today, Davis teaches daylong safety classes for the Red Cross in Orange County, California, and she also uses the skills she’s learned to help care for her mother, who is doing better. The ripple effect doesn’t stop there.
“I already had a student who actually saved their child who was choking. That's just amazing that I've been able to teach those lifesaving skills.”
Davis said she wears the confidence she gained working at Amazon “like armor” and has no plans to slow down.
“Career Choice helps everyday employees. They do it to help people like me reach their goals.”
The American Red Cross name and emblem are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, opinion, or political position. The American Red Cross logo is a registered trademark owned by the American National Red Cross.