BAKESFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Amazon is pledging $1.2 billion as a commitment to upskill 300,000 of their employees by 2025 and they have selected Bakersfield College to partner with them.
Vice President of Student Affairs Emannuel Mourtzanos believes that Bakersfield College is the perfect university for first time students to start at because they have more than 200 certificates and associate degrees to choose from
“We have a partnership with Amazon. They have an educational program for their employees called Career Choice and Career Choice is for full or part-time employees at Amazon who are looking either to advance their education or they’re looking to scale up.”
Amazon spokesperson Eileen Hards says that this initiative isn’t limited to careers that may advance you at Amazon but employees can choose whatever field they like, including healthcare or robotics.
"We’ll now be offering our employees free bachelor’s degree tuition, access to English language proficiency, high school completion requirements if needed, and also certificates in in-demand fields," said Hards. “We selected Bakersfield College because we know they’re an important partner in the community and Amazon wanted to be a good neighbor partner with them because they knew they were invested in their students just as much as we are invested in our employees.”
Hards says their goal is to eliminate those barriers to education for their employees like tuition. The average student loan debt is just north of $37,000 and for private loans that number almost doubles for many students. Even 20 years after graduation borrowers still owe more than $20,000. This is something Amazon is trying to end.
Hards says this gives can give students the chance to not go into debt.
"What's unique about this particular Career Choice program is Amazon is actually paying upfront for tuition books and costs associated with your education," explained Hards.
Mourtzanos says he also hopes this partnership inspires students to look at Amazon as a career choice
“We would love to see current Amazon employees who never thought of going back to college to see an opportunity to come to Bakersfield College and to achieve their dreams,” said Mourtzanos.
“If you’re interested in a job at Amazon, we have many opportunities available and you can go to Amazon.com/jobs to look for available positions in the area,” added Hards.