FGCU selected by Amazon as Career Choice Program partner
Florida Gulf Coast University has been selected as an education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice program, providing Amazon’s hourly employees access to educational credentials.
Amazon’s Career Choice program is an education benefit that empowers employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. FGCU's selection opens up the university's 63 undergraduate and 26 master’s degree programs, as well as a variety of micro-credentials called digital badges.
“Collaboration is key to improving system-level outcomes in our workforce and economy,” said Aysegul Timur, FGCU vice president and vice provost for strategy and program innovation. “By overcoming barriers and challenges, partnerships like this help connect workers so they can earn credentials, cultivate their talents and help boost the economy in Southwest Florida.”
“Being enrolled in Amazon’s Career Choice program has been an incredible life opportunity,” said Robert Sandoval, an Amazon sort center employee in Fort Myers who is studying journalism and communications. “The program has expanded in so many ways, allowing me to balance being a full-time employee and a student, while also achieving my educational and professional goals.”
FGCU’s comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs prepare students to excel and innovate. Students, alumni, faculty and staff are actively engaged and environmentally conscious citizens. They serve their communities and inspire others by leading, doing and making a difference.
“We are thrilled that this partnership will enable Amazon employees to pursue educational credentials at FGCU while continuing to gain meaningful employment skills,” said Lisa Johnson, associate vice president for enrollment management at FGCU. “Education is a game changer – especially for first-generation, underrepresented and nontraditional students. This partnership can help change lives.”
Sandoval, a learning trainer at Amazon, started with Amazon in April 2020 as a hourly employee in Fort Myers. He has been promoted several times, including working as a learning ambassador, learning coordinator, safety champion, staffing administrator, and now works as a learning trainer.
He talked about his job at Amazon: "I can tell that it's a little bit hard, but at the same time is easy due to the flexibility that we have here. So it kind of like involves weeks in my career and working for Amazon. I get to interact with people like, for example, the career that I'm going, I interact with the people. I try to make sure that everything falls into place and to help others."
Sandoval enrolled in the Career Choice program in 2021 to pursue a career in journalism and communications and is currently in the Outlier program where he is getting his associate 's degree.
He is an advocate of Career Choice and has guided many Amazon employees to the program. Some associates he’s guided have taken English as a second language (ESL) classes to advance their careers at Amazon.
Sandoval had this to say about Career Choice: "So career choice pays for the education for every employee that is hourly, whether you're a part time or full time, they will pay it for you and they have different opportunities. It can be either like a two-year certification, a four-year career. They do have the from programs, even English as a second language. So that's when I would say, okay, this is the opportunity so I can finish my degree, probably my bachelor's degree, continue to run with the company and still sticking with the company."
After completing his associate' 's degree, Sandoval is looking forward to enrolling at FGCU to continue his studies and receive his bachelor's degree.
Sandoval also leads Amazon 's Welcome Door program at the facility. Welcome Door is a program created by Amazon 's to provide current refugee and humanitarian- -based immigrant employees in the U.S. with additional resources, support, and reimbursement for Employment.
The program meets individual learners where they are on their education journey through a variety of education and upskilling opportunities including pre-paid college tuition, industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs, and foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas, and GEDs. Today, more than 100,000 Amazon employees around the world have participated in Career Choice. In the U.S., the company is investing $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs.
Amazon’s Career Choice program uses a selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing partners that are focused on helping employees through their education programs, providing flexible schedules, assisting them with job placements, and overall offering education that leads to career success. Amazon also provides employees with a variety of work schedules to accommodate their learning, so they can balance being an employee and a student.
For more information on Amazon’s Career Choice: https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/workplace/career-choice
WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you.