Amazon said Thursday it will soon be offering free tuition fees to more than 750,000 hourly workers as part of its latest push to lure workers into a tight labor market.
Starting in January, the e-commerce giant said it will cover all tuition fees for associate and bachelor’s degrees, including courses, books and other fees. Amazon will also cover high school diplomas, GEDs, and ESL programs.
The expanded educational benefits will be made available to hourly employees after 90 days of employment, with costs covered up front and hundreds of institutions available to workers. Amazon said the program would represent a total investment of $ 1.2 billion by 2025.
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The initiative comes as Amazon, Walmart and countless other employees across various industries face a labor shortage. Job vacancies in the United States hit an all-time high in July, with around 10.9 million job vacancies available.
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Amazon has stepped up its recruitment efforts to meet demand as U.S. buyers turn to online outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said it has hired more than 400,000 workers since the pandemic began in March 2020.
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Amazon’s expansion of education benefits followed similar moves from rivals Target and Walmart. The two retailers had previously announced their intention earlier this summer to cover the tuition fees of many employees.