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Amazon employees have opportunity to advance their education at University of Utah

Daniela Petersen is photographed at Amazon’s new delivery center in American Fork on May 20, 2021. The University of Utah on Thursday announced that the school has been selected as an education partner for Amazon's Career Choice Program, providing Amazon's hourly employees access to an undergraduate education at the U.

Daniela Petersen is photographed at Amazon’s new delivery center in American Fork on May 20, 2021. The University of Utah on Thursday announced that the school has been selected as an education partner for Amazon's Career Choice Program, providing Amazon's hourly employees access to an undergraduate education at the U. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Hourly employees at Amazon will now have the option to attend the University of Utah for undergraduate education.

The U. on Thursday announced that it was selected for Amazon's Career Choice Program.

"We're looking forward to the University of Utah coming on board as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees," said Tammy Thieman, global program lead of Amazon's Career Choice program, in a statement.

The program was established by Amazon in 2012, with the purpose of providing an educational pathway for Amazon associates. Amazon employs over 7,000 Utahns at more than a dozen facilities in the state, who will be eligible to participate in Career Choice.

"It allows for education alignment with programs we have established with local community colleges, trade schools, universities (and) high schools," said Nicole Bilich, Amazon human relations manager. "It allows for the students to have this paid for as well as providing flexible scheduling for them in the work environment."

Amazon's educational advancement program provides a variety of upskilling opportunities, including full college tuition, industry certifications designed for in-demand jobs and foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas and GEDs. The company is investing $1.2 billion in the United States, to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 and help move them into higher-paying, more in-demand jobs.

The e-commerce giant selected the Utah university for a variety of reasons, but a big one was that Amazon believed the U. could provide diversification in the programs available to associates, as well as schedule flexibility for associates balancing educational ventures with jobs at Amazon.

Bilich said that Amazon provides scheduling options for employees who are engaged in more structured educational programs that don't offer as much flexibility.

"There are a lot of ways that we try to really make this as beneficial and as convenient as possible for our associates," Bilich said, adding that she's seen several day-shift employees move to the night shift after applying to the program, which allows them to work around their academic schedule.

"It behooves us to help our associates grow in what they want to do (and) where they want to be — sometimes that will be growth within Amazon, sometimes that will be growth outside of Amazon — we really have stressed putting in opportunities for our folks to be where they want to be," Bilich said.

For the U., participating in this program allows the university to increase access to the degree programs they offer, something they're always looking to do.

"Anything that increases access to a degree at the University of Utah is something that we're always hoping that we can help with," said Steve Robinson, senior associate vice president over enrollment at the U. "For the U., it's just another chance to be one of the leaders in our state in terms of higher education and providing great opportunities through our programs and our courses for Utahns."

Any full-time Amazon associate is eligible to apply for the program, as are part-time associates, though, the program only covers half of what it does for full-time associates.

"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," Thieman said. "We have intentionally cultivated a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources, and continuous improvements to the experience.

"Today, over 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we've seen firsthand how it can transform their lives," she said.

Anyone interested in learning more about Amazon's Career Choice Program can do so here.

Correction: In an earlier version, Steve Robinson's name was incorrectly written as John Robinson.

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Logan Stefanich is a reporter with KSL.com, covering southern Utah communities, education, business and military news.

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