UW-Parkside selected as education partner for Amazon Career Choice program

Published: March 15, 2022

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside has been selected as an education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice program. This transformational partnership paves the way for full-time and part-time Amazon employees in southeastern Wisconsin to receive generous college tuition benefits designed to upskill employees and help them move into higher paying career opportunities. Locally, the Career Choice program will impact employees at Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Kenosha.

“UW-Parkside is proud to be the first University of Wisconsin System campus to announce its partnership with Amazon, joining more than 140 colleges and universities nationwide, including our local partners Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois,” said UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford. "We welcome Amazon and their employees to our amazing learning environment. This new partnership supports the university’s bold goal to educate the next generation of talent and increase the number of university degree holders in our region.”

Amazon’s Career Choice program relies on a rigorous selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing institutions focused on supporting students throughout their academic journeys, assisting them with job placements and offering academic and training programs that lead to career success. UW-Parkside's selection underscores the university’s commitment to academic excellence, student success and forging innovative partnerships that benefit the communities it serves.

The initiative empowers hourly employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. The program is tailored to meet the needs of individual learners by offering a variety of education and upskilling opportunities beyond bachelor’s and associate degrees. Through technical college partners, students will have the opportunity to earn industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs, and foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas, and GEDs, according to a statement from Amazon. After earning their certifications, students will have opportunities to continue their education journeys at UW-Parkside to meet their career goals.

In a written statement from Amazon, Tammy Thieman, global program lead of Amazon’s Career choice program, said the company was thrilled to add more educational partners like UW-Parkside. “We’re looking forward to UW-Parkside coming on board as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” Thieman said. “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.”

Career Choice sets the stage for other major corporations to adopt similar strategies to meet their workforce needs, said Rob Ducoffe, provost and vice chancellor at UW-Parkside. “Amazon’s initiative to support continuing education of their employees, given their size and influence, is likely to affect how corporations worldwide consider strategies to attract and retain their own talent,” he said.

UW-Parkside's Center for Adult and Returning Students will provide additional support to Amazon employees as they consider their educational options and have questions about the enrollment process. Employees can contact the Center directly with questions (adult@uwp.edu), to receive unofficial transfer credit reviews, or to request an individual appointment to explore program options.

Amazon’s partnership with UW-Parkside will help equip employees with the education and skills to “effectively address challenges in the modern workplace and a highly dynamic world,” said, Dr. Michele Gee, professor and dean of the College of Business, Economics, and Computing at UW-Parkside. “Hundreds of individual courses, subjects, and degree programs at UW-Parkside are available for Amazon employees. Thus, Amazon’s partnership with UW-Parkside provides an amazing opportunity for thousands of their employees to expand knowledge, enhance skill sets, and ultimately improve their quality of life.”

Ultimately, supplying employees with marketable, in-demand career skills will strengthen the local economy, said Brooke Infusino, director of Talent Development for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA). “KABA applauds Amazon for this innovative and forward-thinking program as well as UW-Parkside's commitment to help expand the skilled workforce in Kenosha County,” Infusino said. “Amazon’s Career Choice Program will benefit their employees and their families …, and our community.”

For more information on Amazon’s Career Choice, visit: https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/workplace/career-choice  

For more information on UW-Parkside, visit: http://www.uwp.edu

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to high-quality educational programs, creative and scholarly activities, and services responsive to its diverse student population, and its local, national, and global communities. We are a dynamic learning community grounded in academic excellence and focused on student success, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. The campus serves as a premier comprehensive public institution and a destination of choice, serving as a focal point of local, regional, and global progress.

Media Contact:

Tannette Elie
Executive Director of University Relations
University of Wisconsin-Parkside

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