Bakersfield College Selected by Amazon as an Education Partner for Career Choice Program


Thursday, March 3, 2022

Amazon announced today that it is further expanding the career advancement opportunities it offers its 750,000 hourly employees in the U.S. by partnering with more than 140 national and local universities, including Bakersfield College, to provide fully-funded college tuition. Today's announcement is part of the company's ongoing enhancements to Career Choice - an Amazon upskilling program designed to help frontline employees grow their skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere.

Bakersfield College is one of the nation's oldest continually-operating community colleges, serving approximately 30,000 students annually on the 153-acre main campus in northeast Bakersfield and at multiple community and rural locations. Amazon is also partnering 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 - all for free.

Bakersfield College's President is thrilled to have this opportunity available for Amazon's local workforce. “Bakersfield College is here to support our entire community in many different ways. While most students seek a college degree or certificate, many can improve their careers and earning potential through building skills that develop and ensure secure futures. Through Amazon's Career Choice Program, BC's students will have the foundational support of steady employment while also working towards their personal academic goals,” he says. “All of us at Bakersfield College are thrilled to see the growing presence of Amazon in our community and look forward to a long and productive collaboration.”

As a champion of higher education, Bakersfield College's expansive list of vocational, technical, and career-driven programs has captured attention statewide. In 2015, the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office announced their selection of BC as one of 15 California colleges to pilot a four-year baccalaureate degree program in Industrial Automation. In May 2018, BC conferred its first BS degrees to the inaugural class and today, one of those initial graduates is employed by Amazon as a Senior Maintenance Manager, here in Kern County.

“Since its founding in 1913, Bakersfield College has been committed to expanding the skilled workforce of Kern County,” said Chancellor of the Kern Community College District, Dr. Sonya Christian. “I am beyond proud of BC's faculty and staff who continue to create pathways and forge innovative partnerships like this one with the Amazon Career Choice Program and by offering employees the opportunity to grow their skills for in-demand jobs of the future, Amazon is positively contributing to the overall wellness and success of Kern County and our community.”

These new partnerships are part of Amazon's continued investment in its Career Choice program, which now offers fully-funded college tuition, allows employees to participate every year they work at Amazon, and gives them eligibility after only 90 days of employment. Through Career Choice, employees can pursue a Bachelor's degree, earn industry certifications leading to in-demand jobs, and build skills through English language proficiency, and high school completion programs.

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, and high school completion programs. 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.

“We're committed to empowering our employees with easy access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that's with us or elsewhere,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Senior Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment. “We're thrilled today to be adding more education partners to our Career Choice program, which we hope will give our team access to the educational paths that fit their passions. Whether someone is looking to build their English proficiency skills, prepare for GED testing, or earn their Bachelor's degree, we're working to meet our employees wherever they are on their educational journey.”

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.

To learn more about Career Choice, visit the Amazon Career Choice information page.

To learn more about Amazon's $1.2 billion investment to upskill 300,000 employees in the next four years, please visit Amazon's Upskilling Committments webpage.

Jobs are available across California. Interested candidates can see all open positions at Amazon's Job Postings page.

For more information, visit Bakersfield College's Career Choice Program

Story picked up by: 
KERO: Amazon partners with Bakersfield College to give employees access to education
Fortune: Amazon workers can now attend these 180 colleges for free