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Two West Michigan institutions of learning are education partners with Amazon

Mark Sessions, Amazon associate attending Grand Valley State University via Amazon's Career Choice program
Mark Sessions, Amazon associate attending Grand Valley State University via Amazon's Career Choice program

Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College join Amazon’s Career Choice program.

Over the past decade, corporations have been investing in their employees. But in the current economy with worker shortages and increased competition for talent, employee benefit delivery is evolving.

Take Amazon’s Career Choice program. Its employees no longer pay tuition upfront then wait for reimbursement. The new model: a direct bill.

“The university gets paid directly from the corporation. The employee can just use the educational benefit very freely.”

Grand Valley State University is partnering with Amazon. It’s committing $1.2 billion nationwide. By the year 2025, it hopes to upskill more than 300,000 associates. With two Kent County Amazon Fulfillment Centers, workers are taking advantage of the program. Kara Van Dam, vice provost for Graduate and Lifetime Learning explains the process. It begins with an Amazon associate logging in to the Career Choice portal where they select from area educators Eastern Michigan University, Grand Rapids Community College, Henry Ford College and Grand Valley State University.

“They get a voucher from Amazon that basically is a commitment from Amazon to Grand Valley that Amazon will pay for that tuition. So, it’s a very straightforward process, not only for the Amazon associates, but also on the Grand Valley end. We take that voucher, we let the students now register for classes and start their coursework right away.”

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.