SUNY Empire State College has been accepted as a premier member into the Amazon Career Choice program, an education benefit that empowers Amazon employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere.
SUNY Empire is the first institution within the SUNY system to partner with the Amazon Career Choice program.
Officials said partnership with SUNY Empire will make it more convenient for Amazon’s hourly employees to earn their undergraduate degree online, in person at SUNY Empire locations, at Amazon Career Choice classrooms located across New York state, or a combination of all three.
Through its Career Choice program, Amazon provides funding for employees’ tuition, books, and fees with no lifetime limit on participating.
SUNY Empire and Amazon are collaborating to hold fall information sessions for Amazon employees across New York state, beginning with the company’s two Staten Island distribution centers, as well as distribution centers in Albany and Buffalo. The goal is to eventually expand the partnership to eligible employees in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The college will also begin offering college courses on site at Amazon’s Career Choice Classrooms in Staten Island and Albany in the spring of 2023. In the U.S. alone, the company is investing $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 Amazon employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs.
SUNY Empire was selected to Amazon’s Career Choice program, in part, because of its unique position within the SUNY system as a pioneer and leading provider of online and hybrid education and supports for working adults. The college is also a national leader in prior learning assessment (PLA), evaluating and granting college credit for relevant prior work and life experience.
Last year, SUNY Empire’s graduates were awarded nearly 45,000 PLA credits, saving them time and money in completing their undergraduate degrees. SUNY Empire offers more than 110 online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs.
State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “I’m excited about the collaboration between SUNY Empire and Amazon and the resulting investment in the New York state workforce. This is an attractive opportunity for working adults who need flexible, affordable educational options so they can earn their college degrees while working and supporting their families.”
SUNY Empire State College President Lisa Vollendorf said, “through our participation in the Amazon Career Choice program, we will build the diversity of our students and provide access for Amazon employees to affordably and conveniently earn college credit for their experiences while they work, earn their degrees, and tend to their personal and community commitments. We are excited to provide access to educational opportunities to Amazon employees.”
“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 to be partnering with SUNY Empire 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 SUNY Empire 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.”