Amazon offers college aid to warehouse workers

Amazon will give $2,000 college scholarships to warehouse workers to pursue associate degrees in high-wage, high-demand careers such as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies and nursing.

Labeling the initiative as an “experiment,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote that the so-called Career Choice Program will give warehouse employees the opportunity to advance their careers, even if their field of choice is unrelated to Amazon.

The company said it would pay 95 percent of tuition up to a limit of $2,000 annually for four years. Workers with three years’ experience are eligible.

Last year, Amazon was accused of sweatshop working conditions at its Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania warehouse by The Morning Call.

Most Amazon workers who take the scholarship will turn to community colleges, predicts Dean Dad, who’s looking forward to   “very motivated, conscientious students.”

He likes the flexibility in the Amazon plan. By contrast, “Wal-Mart contracted with a single national for-profit provider — American Public University — and only pays for employees who enroll there.”