EDISON, NJ - Amazon’s Career Choice program recently received the “Community Excellence” award from the New Jersey Community College Consortium for its impact on the local community.

Steven Johnson, Amazon’s Director for Associate Development, was on hand to accept the award and lead a panel discussion on how the program provides trained, motivated employees for today’s manufacturing industry.

Amazon’s Career Choice Program will pre-pay 95 percent of tuition for courses in in-demand, high-wage fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a future career at Amazon. Many associates will choose to build a career at Amazon. For others, a job at Amazon may be the first step in a career path in another industry.

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The program provides associates with a resource for building the job skills needed for today's most in-demand and well-paying careers, such as Aerospace, Engineering, Information Technology, Computer Science, Mechanical and Electrical Trades, Healthcare, Construction and Transportation and Logistics, to name a few.

In addition, Amazon has more than 500 hourly associates currently enrolled in robotics related courses including engineering and computer science, as well as nearly 100 associates who have graduated so far in these areas.

“If you invest in your employees, you’re not only engaging your workers, you’re also developing the local workforce and driving economic impact in the community,” Johnson said.  “If we can help someone fulfill their dream to become a nurse or an airplane mechanic, and while doing so make their time at Amazon positive and valuable, then we ought to jump at that opportunity.”

Currently, more than 16,000 employees are participating in Career Choice and the company expects to expand the program to 20,000 participants by 2020.

In addition to the 19 colleges represented by the New Jersey Community College Consortium, Amazon’s Career Choice programs partners with more than 30 colleges and educational institutions across the state.