Rarely do you see the CEO of a $US180 billion company care much about its warehouse workers.
But Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos takes a pretty unique approach in providing career help to its employees at the company’s fulfillment centres, where Amazon’s orders get packaged and shipped.
Since 2012, Amazon has offered a program called “Career Choice,” where the company pays 95% of tuition for its fulfillment and customer service center employees to take courses in non-work related fields, such as aeroplane mechanics, nursing, and medical lab technologies.
And according to Bezos’ annual shareholder letter published Friday, more than 2,000 employees from 8 different countries took advantage of this program. In fact, demand has been so high that Amazon now offers onsite courses at 8 of its fulfillment centres, with plans to expand even further to other regions.
The idea behind this is to “enable choice” for his employees, Bezos writes. While some fulfillment center employees will carve out a long career at Amazon, some might take it as a temporary stop to a different position that, in some cases, may require specific skills. Bezos writes:
“We believe Career Choice is an innovative way to draw great talent to serve customers in our fulfillment and customer service centres. These jobs can become gateways to great careers with Amazon as we expand around the world or enable employees the opportunity to follow their passion in other in-demand technical fields, like our very first Career Choice graduate did when she started a new career as a nurse in her community.”
In fact, this isn’t the first time Bezos offered a “choice” to his fulfillment center employees. In last year’s shareholder letter, Bezos talked about the “Pay to Quit” program, where workers in the fulfillment centres are given the option to take up to $US5,000 to leave the company.
Bezos wrote at the time that the idea was to encourage people to really think about their careers. “In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company,” he wrote.
The “Career Choice” program offers up $US3,000 a year for 95% of the tuition, in addition to another 95% of textbook costs. You can learn more about Amazon’s “Career Choice” program here.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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