Outlier.org Will Provide 750,000 Amazon Employees Free Access To College Courses – Forbes

Outlier.org Will Provide 750,000 Amazon Employees Free Access To College Courses – Forbes

With the platform Outlier.org offers, a person could start out taking a handful of college courses … [+] in different disciplines, running from calculus to sociology to psychology.
In our society, there is intense pressure to get a college degree. Parents, with the best of intentions, tell their kids that they must go to a university or risk facing a go-nowhere future. Considerably more doors are open with a degree. However, the costs are exorbitant.
Many graduates are saddled with overwhelming tuition debt. It hangs heavy and impacts all aspects of their life. The amount of interest, along with the payments, doesn’t leave much discretionary income. This is especially prevalent with graduates who can’t find jobs that pay well.
This generation will be the first one in modern history that won’t have the same or better lifestyle than their parents. There are concerns over getting married, having children and purchasing a home as they can imagine coming up with the funds. It doesn’t help matters that inflation is raging, ratcheting up the cost of everything ranging from food to gas at the pumps.
There is an interesting alternative. In a wide-ranging interview with Aaron Rasmussen, the CEO of Outlier.org and cofounder and former creative director and chief technology officer of Masterclass, he discloses the solutions that his company offers. College doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all. It’s reasonable, Rasmussen said, for people who are not sure what they want to do with their lives and don’t want to spend a small fortune without any direction—to start small. With the platform Outlier.org offers, a person could start out taking a handful of college courses in different disciplines, running from calculus to sociology to psychology. If they find a calling, they may want to go all the way and obtain a degree.
On the other side of the equation, businesses are desperately seeking ways to attract, recruit and retain workers in this ever-increasing Great Resignation movement. The war being waged for talent requires businesses to offer an array of benefits, in addition to good pay, to keep the best and brightest from leaving.
Although Amazon is one of the most powerful companies in the world, it is not immune to worker attrition and turnover. The company realizes that it needs to find smart, mutually beneficial ways to entice folks to join the company and happily stay there.
To help both workers and the company, the online college education platform Outlier.org announced its partnership with Amazon. It has been selected as one of five national education partners for Amazon’s Career Choice program.
Through its Employee Pathways program, Outlier.org will provide Amazon’s 750,000 qualifying hourly employees in the U.S. the option to access a custom Amazon College Pathway Certificate and the full catalog of general education courses, spanning mathematics and writing, as well as liberal arts and business electives.
The certificate and courses provide a meaningful bridge to a degree with highly transferable credit accepted at institutions across the country, while enabling students to explore different majors and overarching career paths—all at zero cost to employees.
The coursework, similar to the brilliant work Rasmussen did at Masterclass, features cinema-quality online lectures. Outlier.org’s CEO sought out some of the smartest and most charismatic leaders in academia, including instructors from Yale, MIT and Columbia, to teach the online courses. In addition to a top-quality learning experience, students receive one-on-one tutoring.
Through its partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, Outlier.org grants transferable college credits. Amazon employees can use the courses to apply to other higher-learning institutions if they want to continue pursuing their degrees. In a staggering statistic, one out of every 215 employees in the U.S. work at Amazon. This trend could start a revolution in the way people pursue a college education.
Rasmussen said about the collaboration with Amazon, “It is fantastic that Amazon is leading the way in providing high-quality education as a benefit to their employees at no cost.” He continued, “This previews a future when many forward-thinking businesses will empower their employees with for-credit education and foundational pathways for career advancement. Together, we can increase access to education and reduce student debt.”
He said that education as a benefit is the future. By offering free college tuition, companies will have better success attracting, recruiting and retaining workers. The employees will feel appreciated, more engaged with the company, feel empowered and motivated. As they pursue more courses, management will view the person as a fast tracker and offer them new opportunities within the organization. Even if someone graduates, receives a diploma and leaves, they will be a great brand ambassador telling everyone of their wonderful experience. The Outlier.org and Amazon Career Choice partnership offers learning, the pursuit of finding a future career passion and not having to worry about being buried with student debt for life.
Rasmussen mused, “What better way to pursue these missions than offering an incredible opportunity for these Amazon employees to explore college writing, psychology, college algebra, sociology, intro to business and many other courses, while gaining college credit they can use for their future degrees?”

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