Dear Commons Community,
Yesterday, the City University of New York (CUNY) and Amazon announced a partnership where Amazon employees will have access to education at eight colleges to further their career opportunities. Through Amazon’s Career Choice program, the company will provide an annual benefit to cover tuition and select fees for all qualifying hourly employees accepted into participating CUNY schools in New York. As described in an announcement from CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.
“Education can unlock opportunity and prosperity for New Yorkers, no matter what background or zip code. We must continue to invest in community colleges, workforce development, and opportunities for career training,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “This collaboration with CUNY will provide greater access to education and opportunity, and complement our efforts to grow our economy and expand workforce development across the state.”
“We cannot be a prosperous city without the collaboration of private partners to help create efficient educational and career pipelines,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This is what I call ‘Get Stuff Done’ and I’m grateful Amazon is working with the city to launch this joint educational partnership. Thanks to the collaboration between CUNY’s Career Success Initiatives and Amazon’s Career Choice, thousands of New Yorkers will gain access to an Associate or Bachelor’s degree and training to further their careers.”
Starting with an initial focus on Associate and Bachelor’s degrees, the initiative is open to any major of study at any of the participating eight CUNY colleges in all five New York City boroughs. CUNY’s partnership, the first for Amazon in New York State, is part of a national commitment by Amazon to provide educational and upskilling opportunities to more than 750,000 hourly employees at four national and more than 140 local universities and colleges.
“This important partnership is a powerful example of how the private sector can join forces with the City University of New York to advance workers’ education, promote economic mobility and help rebuild New York City’s post-pandemic economy all at the same time,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “We thank Amazon for its commitment to higher education for its employees and look forward to working with them while expanding CUNY’s role as one of the nation’s premiere engines of economic opportunity.”
Through this collaboration, New York City-based Amazon workers will have access to over 500 Associate and Bachelor’s degree programs offered online or in-person, including in-demand fields such as technology, healthcare, and green energy.
This initial cohort of CUNY colleges represent a footprint in each borough to provide locations in physical proximity to Amazon worksites. The eight colleges are Bronx Community College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, the City College of New York, the College of Staten Island, the CUNY School of Professional Studies, Kingsborough Community College, LaGuardia Community College and Queens College.
Following today’s announcement, Career Choice now works with more than 180 education providers to deliver education to employees.
“Working at Amazon has made me realize how important data can be to a business’ success,” said Afor Ukoha, an employee at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York. “I enjoy solving problems and have a background in computers, so the Career Choice program supports me in expanding my skillset in something I am passionate about. With Amazon’s help, I am able to receive my education for free, while also working with my schedule to make sure I can still work.”
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 fully paid parental leave, and additional benefits for employees and their families.
“At Amazon, 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,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Head of Community Affairs at Amazon in New York. “We’re thrilled today to be partnering with CUNY on our Career Choice program to give our employees access to pursue the education path that fits their passions. Whether employees are looking to finish their Bachelor’s degree at CUNY or build on their foundational skills of English proficiency or GED preparation with our national partners, we’re prepared to meet our employees wherever they are on their educational journey.”
With Career Choice, Amazon works to make it easy for employees to advance their education—even building classrooms on-site in many of its buildings. Employees can take classes online, in-person at a local university, or on-site in one of the over 110 Career Choice classrooms located in fulfillment centers in 37 states. Since launching in 2012, Career Choice has helped provide education for more than 50,000 employees. As of this announcement, Amazon’s Career Choice program works with more than 180 education providers across the U.S., which along with colleges and universities includes partners providing industry certifications, English language proficiency, high school completion programs, and college preparatory courses. Career Choice is one of nine free skills training and education programs that Amazon offers to its employees as part of its Upskilling 2025 pledge.
Additional partners include Southern New Hampshire University, Colorado State University – Global, Western Governors University, and National University. Amazon will also partner with 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.
To learn more about Career Choice, visit: https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/workplace/career-choice
We welcome Amazon and its employees to CUNY!