Want to work in one of Amazon's warehouses? What if the company paid for the cost of your higher education?
The e-commerce giant on Monday announced its new Career Choice Program in a lengthy letter that was posted on Amazon's homepage.
To reward its hourly workers and help them learn new skills, Amazon said it would offer a tuition reimbursement program, paying up to 95% of the tuition, textbook and associated fees for such courses as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies and nursing.
The program -- which pays a maximum of $2,000 per year for four years -- is available for full-time hourly Amazon employees in the U.S. who have been with the company for at least three consecutive years. It's intended to "expand the choices available to our associates in their future career, whether that's at Amazon or in another industry."
"The Amazon Career Choice Program provides associates with a resource for building the job skills needed for today's most in-demand and well-paying careers," the company said.
In case you're still not sure you want to be hoofing it around Amazon's massive fulfillment centers, Chief Executive Jeff Bezos lauded the Seattle company's employment opportunities in the warehouses.
"Our high productivity allows us to pay our fulfillment center employees 30% more than traditional physical retail store employees while still offering customers the lowest prices," Bezos said. "Our work on safety practices has been so effective that it's statistically safer to work in an Amazon fulfillment center than in a traditional department store."
Bezos said that in the current tough economy, it "can be difficult" to have the flexibility and financial resources to gain new skills. He said the Career Choice program was unusual because unlike traditional tuition reimbursement programs, "we exclusively fund education only in areas that are well-paying and in high demand according to sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and we fund those areas regardless of whether those skills are relevant to a career at Amazon."
He noted that the program was an experiment, and one that Amazon hoped other companies would copy.
Amazon is currently building two fulfillment centers in California, in San Bernardino and Patterson, that will employ 1,000 workers each. The company is expected to receive a windfall of money from those cities because local officials plan to give Amazon the lion's share of the sales taxes they'll collect from product sales as a reward for setting up shop there.