Amazon adds academic coaching to benefits package

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Technology and e-commerce business Amazon has enhanced its Career Choice programme with academic coaching for US-based staff.

The programme was originally launched in 2012 to offer prepaid higher education to more than 750,000 hourly members of staff. Through its new partnerships with educational organisations Beyond 12 and Kaplan, Amazon has added free career coaching, college advice, and specialised career services.

Employees can now access one-to-one coaching to help identify the academic programmes best suited to their skills and goals, as well as ongoing support during their higher education.

The organisation cited the need to create social mobility, with US Census Bureau data showing that people with a degree earn 62% more on average. However, Harvard University reported that fewer than 40% of community college students earn a degree within six years, with the number dropping for older, part-time or minority ethnic students. This led Amazon to focus on guidance and coaching to help students succeed long-term.

Beyond 12 is a app-based not-for-profit organisation which aims to improve the outcomes of students from under-resourced communities, with live virtual coaching that provides guidance on what behaviours can lead to success during further education.

Kaplan provides learning resources such as test preparation, including for license and certification exams, degree programmes, and English learning. Amazon employees will be able to access career services, such as networking, resume development, job interview preparation, and online brand building.

Amazon aims to further expand its Career Choice programme, which currently has more than 80,000 participants.

Tammy Thieman, global director for Career Choice at Amazon, said: “While Career Choice has always been complemented by advisement services, feedback from participants has shown that more comprehensive and ongoing coaching would help employees choose programs better aligned to their career goals. We want Amazon team members to successfully navigate the challenges of going to school while working and, ultimately, use their new skills to find incredible opportunities.

“These partnerships with Beyond 12 and Kaplan are a game-changing enhancement to our programme and the careers of Amazon’s employees.”