UTC Selected By Amazon As Education Partner for Career Choice Program

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been selected as an education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice program, providing Amazon’s hourly employees access to face-to-face and online instruction.

Amazon’s Career Choice program is an employee benefit that empowers workers to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. The program meets individual learners where they are on their education journey through a variety of education and upskilling opportunities, including full college tuition, industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs and foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas and GEDs.

In the U.S., the company will invest $1.2 billion in training and education opportunities for more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs. Established in 2012, Amazon’s Career Choice program has more than 140 university partners.

Amazon’s Chattanooga Fulfillment Center, 20 minutes northeast of the UTC campus, has more than 2,500 full-time employees.

“UTC is proud to partner with Amazon’s Career Choice program,” said Yancy Freeman, UTC vice chancellor for enrollment management and student affairs. “This partnership will provide Amazon employees access to a quality degree program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“Students can select from a number of different degree programs, and we believe UTC provides a robust variety of options ranging from our all-online Applied Leadership program to engineering and computer science degrees. We look forward to welcoming Amazon employees into the UTC family.”

UTC is the second-largest campus in the University of Tennessee System, serving a diverse student body of approximately 11,700 undergraduate and graduate students.

Between four academic colleges and the Graduate School, UTC offers 47 bachelor’s degrees with 88 program concentrations, 22 graduate certificate programs, 22 master’s programs with 52 program concentrations, an education specialist program with four program concentrations, and six doctoral degrees with six program concentrations.

“The UTC Bursar’s office staff is excited about the opportunity to assist Amazon employees who are enrolled or planning to enroll at UTC and manage their fee invoicing and payment under the Career Choice program partnership,” said Vanasia Parks, UTC senior associate vice chancellor for business services. “We have enrolled in the Amazon Accounts Payable system and are set to welcome our first Amazon employees.

“We have worked diligently to ensure this is a seamless process for Amazon employees, allowing current and prospective students additional access to programs at UTC. It is also our hope that the Career Choice program will remove any financial obstacles and enable more Amazon employees to consider UTC as their college of choice.”

Nontraditional students are the inspiration for a new UTC degree program launched in fall 2021. The Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Leadership (BAS-AL), housed in the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies, is a fully online program serving students with previous college, military or work experience—also known as adult learners—who want to complete their undergraduate degrees.

More than a dozen seven-week courses have been created for BAS-AL majors. The program accepts transfer credits, military training and prior learning experience portfolio credit, allowing students to build upon previous academic experience.

“UTC looks forward to supporting and partnering with Amazon to create more educational and professional opportunities on and off campus,” said Shewanee Howard-Baptiste, UTC vice provost of academic outreach. “In the coming weeks, we look forward to sharing additional information and becoming more engaged with Amazon and its employees as a community partner.”

Amazon’s Career Choice program has a rigorous selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing partners focused on helping employees through their education programs, assisting them with job placements and offering education that leads to career success.

“We’re looking forward to UTC coming on board as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” said Tammy Thieman, global program lead of Amazon’s Career Choice program. “We’re committed to empowering our employees by providing them access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that’s with us or elsewhere.

“We have intentionally cultivated a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources and continuous improvements to the experience. 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.”