Beginning in January, the e-commerce giant said it would cover the full cost of tuition for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, including classes, books, and other fees. Amazon will also cover high school diplomas, GEDs, and English as a Second Language programs.
The expanded educational benefits will be made available to hourly employees after 90 days of employment, with costs covered in advance and hundreds of institutions available to workers. Amazon said the program will amount to a total investment of $1.2 billion by 2025.
The initiative comes as Amazon, Walmart, and countless other employees in the various industries contend with a labor shortage. U.S. job vacancies reached a record high in July, with approximately 10.9 million unfilled positions available.
Amazon has ramped up its hiring efforts to meet demand as U.S. shoppers turn to e-commerce outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said it has hired more than 400,000 workers since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Amazon’s expansion of education benefits followed similar moves from rivals Target and Walmart. Both retailers previously announced plans earlier this summer to cover college costs for many employees.