Amazon partners with two Penn State campuses for its Career Choice program

The company will fully fund the tuition at Penn State Hazleton for its front-line workers in northeastern Pennsylvania, and the benefit will cover tuition for employees in Pennsylvania to attend Penn State World Campus
Amazon employees wearing masks sort numerous packages at a fulfillment center.

Amazon has partnered with Penn State Hazleton and Penn State World Campus to provide full tuition to the company's employees who enroll in undergraduate degree programs through those campuses.

Credit: Amazon

Amazon announced on March 3 partnerships that will fund tuition at Penn State Hazleton and Penn State World Campus, the University’s online campus, for its Pennsylvania employees.

The partnerships are part of Amazon’s Career Choice initiative that has been designed to help the company’s front-line employees grow their skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere.

Through Career Choice, Amazon aims to expand career advancement opportunities the company offers its 750,000 hourly employees in the U.S. by partnering with more than 140 national and local universities to provide fully funded college tuition.

Under the expanded Amazon Career Choice program, the company will cover the tuition for eligible employees at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Hazle Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, who enroll in one of the bachelor’s or associate degree programs at the Penn State Hazleton campus.

In addition, Amazon’s employees anywhere in Pennsylvania can use the Career Choice tuition benefit for the bachelor’s and associate degree programs offered online through Penn State World Campus.

The partnerships are also an expansion of the corporate partnership between Amazon and Penn State.

Programs at Penn State Hazleton

At Penn State Hazleton, Amazon employees can earn a degree in one of 13 bachelor’s or five associate degree programs.

Bachelor’s degrees include business; computer science; corporate communication; criminal justice (bachelor of arts/bachelor of science); engineering in alternative energy and power generation; health policy and administration; information technology; letters, arts and sciences; project and supply chain management; psychology (bachelor of arts/bachelor of science); and rehabilitation and human services.

Associate degree programs include business administration; information sciences and technology; letters, arts and sciences; medical laboratory technology; and physical therapist assistant. Credit certificate programs are also available as an option.

“Penn State Hazleton is very excited and proud to partner with Amazon on Career Choice. This program affords tremendous opportunities for Amazon employees through access to a myriad of educational programs. It is a win-win situation for everyone and improves the lives of many in northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Penn State Hazleton Chancellor Gary M. Lawler.

"We’re proud of the agility and ability of our Penn State Commonwealth Campuses to take advantage of opportunities with valued partners like Amazon to make a Penn State education accessible to residents in our local communities,” said Kelly Austin, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor. “Penn State Hazleton's academic program portfolio was designed to meet workforce needs and the campus' comprehensive student services will support student success in the classroom and workplace."

Elizabeth Wright, director of academic affairs at Penn State Hazleton, and associate dean for academic affairs in the University’s Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses, said, “We are excited and prepared to support new and current students who are employed by Amazon and wish to earn a Penn State degree. I encourage anyone interested in Amazon Career Choice to contact our admissions staff who are available to answer questions and provide assistance.”

Online through Penn State World Campus

Amazon employees who live in Pennsylvania who want to pursue an online degree can choose from among the 38 bachelor’s degree programs and seven associate degree programs that are offered through Penn State World Campus.

Bachelor’s degree programs include fields in business; labor and human resources; health; information technology; engineering; law and public policy; liberal arts; communications and the arts; and agricultural science.

The seven associate degree programs offered online are in business administration; criminal justice; human development and family studies; information sciences and technology; labor and human resources; letters, arts and sciences; and turfgrass science and management.

Penn State World Campus has been offering degrees online since 1998, and more than 30,000 students have graduated.

“We are eager to help make a college degree a reality for Amazon employees,” said Renata Engel, Penn State vice provost for Online Education. “And we welcome the opportunity for Amazon employees to pursue the breadth of programs we offer and earn their Penn State degree online while balancing work and their responsibilities at home.”

Amazon Career Choice

Since launching in 2012, Amazon's Career Choice has helped provide education for more than 50,000 employees. More information is available at the Career Choice program website.

As of this announcement, the program works with more than 180 education providers across the U.S., which along with colleges and universities includes partners providing industry certifications, English language proficiency, and high school completion programs.

“We’re looking forward to Penn State coming on board as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” said Tammy Thieman, global program lead of of the program. “We’re committed to empowering our employees by providing them access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that’s with us or elsewhere. We have intentionally cultivated a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources, and continuous improvements to the experience. Today, over 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we’ve seen first-hand how it can transform their lives.”

Corporate partnerships with Penn State

These latest Amazon-Penn State partnerships were made possible with the assistance of the Penn State Corporate Engagement Center, which connects industry partners to strategic opportunities at Penn State for research and development, philanthropy, and talent recruitment. Currently, Amazon's holistic relationship with the University includes research partnerships in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, talent development in the Smeal College of Business, and philanthropic support of THON. According to LinkedIn, around 1,500 Penn State alumni currently work at Amazon. 

Created in 2019, the center serves as a hub for industry and University relationships, supporting companies as they navigate the vast resources of Penn State. The team helps build lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

“This initiative adds to an existing partnership between Amazon and Penn State,” said Melissa Erekson, assistant vice president for corporate engagement. “As a corporate partner of the University, Amazon is plugged into strategic opportunities across the University, like continuing education for their workforce, that help both the company and Penn State work together to solve real-world challenges and advance mutual goals. We are excited to see how the relationship progresses and impacts our communities.” 

The Corporate Engagement Center is a joint initiative of Penn State's Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and the Office of University Development, working in partnership with Career Services.

More information on Amazon Career Choice at Penn State Hazleton can be found online.

Find out more about learning online through Penn State World Campus with the Amazon Career Choice program.

To learn more about the corporate partnerships at Penn State, visit the Corporate Engagement Center website.


Mike Dawson

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