CWI partners with Amazon to provide free school to eligible employees –

NAMPA, Idaho — Through a new partnership, eligible Amazon employees will now be able to attend the College of Western Idaho for free.
As part of Amazon’s Career Choice Program, the e-commerce company will pay for the cost of tuition, books and fees for classes at CWI. 
CWI President Gordon Jones said he believes the Gem State’s largest community college is able to educate and work with students of any age and at whatever stage in life they’re at. He said this partnership can help current, eligible Amazon employees climb to their next job within the company or elsewhere.
“Bottomline at CWI, we know we’re serving today’s Amazon employees and tomorrow’s by helping them grow their careers and their opportunities,” Jones said.
Amazon originally launched this program in 2012, but recently expanded it to more schools because of $1.2 billion commitment to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025. 
Eligible employees can enroll in Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs, high school completion courses, GED, career technical programs, and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, all free of charge.
Amazon HR Manager Nicole Bilich said people are able to choose whatever courses they would like.
“I keep hearing from employers across this valley about, ‘What kind of opportunities can I offer my employees?’ This kind of opportunity Amazon is making for their employees is exactly the kind of thing we’re excited to serve,” Jones said.
Bilich said to qualify for the program someone has to be a tier-one employee, which would be an hourly worker that has been employed for at least 90 days and has not received any disciplinary action. 
“Amazon has always been interested in upscaling. We really like to keep the talent we get and if we can help them grow, develop and be our leaders of the future then that’s a win-win,” Bilich said.
Employees have access to these funds as long as they remain at the company. There is no limit to the number of years they’re able to benefit.
According to Amazon, the Nampa fulfillment center employs more than 4,000 people.
“It’s really opened up the ability for folks to be able to access educational programs, as well as do those while working full time,” Bilich said.
During the pandemic, CWI saw a dip in its enrollment numbers. In 2019, CWI had more than 31,000 students enrolled and in 2022, Jones said enrollment is around 29,000. With this new program, he’s hoping to see a rebound.
“This valley is growing like crazy, it is these opportunities that Amazon’s done with career choice and I absolutely think it’s going to help feed the growth,” Jones said.
Since launching in 2012, Amazon said the program has helped provide education for more than 50,000 employees.
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