How 2 Amazon employees earned their GEDs for free through the Career Choice program
Amazon is always innovating when it comes to benefits for employees. In 2012, we made a commitment to our hourly employees by launching the Career Choice program, an education and skills-training benefit designed to help eligible employees grow their careers—at Amazon or elsewhere.
In the years since, more than 110,000 Amazon employees have participated in Career Choice. Over the years, the program has continued to grow and last year we expanded our U.S. Career Choice offerings to include prepaid college tuition, English language courses, and GED prep and high school diploma programs. In the first year, the English-language proficiency programs had over 6,000 participants, and over 220 people earned their GED certificates. Another 55 employees earned high school diplomas.
“It’s so important to us that our hourly employees have the opportunity to learn new skills and build their careers,” said Beth Galetti, Amazon’s SVP of People eXperience and Technology. “We’ve seen how these offerings open new doors to better, higher paying jobs which empowers us as a business, employees as individuals and also the communities we operate in, holistically.”
Those employees include Dana and Adam, who earned their GED certificates through Career Choice. Meet both of them below—and learn how they plan to use their education to grow their careers.
Dana, Fulfillment Associate, New York, New York
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Dana was laid off from her part-time job at a museum. She worried about finding work during such an uncertain time. Record numbers of people were unemployed, and Dana lacked proof that she graduated from high school because she had been home-schooled.
With no relevant job experience, she started at Amazon as a sorter in a fulfillment center. She said the role was tiring at first, but the job also demonstrated her perseverance.
“It really showed me what I could do,” she said. “Comfort is the enemy of progress, so if you really want to progress, then you’re going to do something out of the ordinary. You’re going to push yourself.”
Dana had already started working toward her GED when she heard that Amazon offered GED preparation through Career Choice. She was excited.
“It expedited everything in my life. Within a couple of months, I got my GED with Amazon and they paid for the whole thing,” she said. “When I got that high school diploma in the mail, I was so relieved and happy. I started crying. It made me feel so good and proud.”
She went on to enroll in a Career Choice industry certification program, studying environmental tech to become a certified environmental technician. She’s now hoping to become an environmental engineer.
“Amazon affords me the opportunity to test things out, free of charge,” she said. “And after earning my GED, I felt like I could take on the world.”
Adam, Loss Prevention Specialist, San Antonio, Texas
Adam dropped out of school in 8th grade and never considered higher education—until he joined Amazon in August 2020. After working in construction for about five years, Adam discovered Amazon’s education programs through Career Choice.
“Before Amazon, I never thought I could finish my education,” Adam said. “When I first started the GED program, I expected it to be very long and hard, and it ended up being relatively easy and short. And Amazon provided the entire program to me for free.”
He even persuaded both his mother and roommate to join him at Amazon and further their own educations through Career Choice.
Adam has been promoted twice since joining Amazon—and he’s currently interviewing for his third promotion. He is now working on a bachelor’s degree in information technology thanks to Career Choice. Adam also recently applied for the Amazon Technical Academy, which is one of Amazon’s skills-training programs that offers training and job-placement for software development engineers. His dream is to one day open his own IT shop.
“That’s a little easier when you have a degree,” he said. “In construction, I felt like there were only so many ways I could go. I never thought that I would be doing something like I am now.”
Career Choice offers eligible employees an opportunity to grow their skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. Learn more about Career Choice and the program’s recent milestones.