As part of the company’s commitment to its workforce, Amazon has partnered with the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) to provide online IT and computer science training to its hourly employees across the country.
The newly announced partnership – which has been in the works for nearly a year – will give hourly Amazon workers the opportunity to focus on four tracks, including web designer, network technician, computer support specialist, and information security analyst.
With UMGC providing the coursework, and Amazon pre-paying 95 percent of tuition and fees, hourly employees can earn several certifications and an Associate of Arts degree with a specialization in Computer Studies. Employees have up to four years to complete the 60 credits needed for the degree.
With this agreement, UMGC – formerly the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) – becomes the retail giant’s premier online higher education partner for hourly employees in the IT field.
“We have been offering online courses for more than 20 years and have developed a national and global footprint,” said Bob Ludwig, UMGC’s assistant vice president of media relations. “Because of our high-quality IT and cybersecurity programs, our outstanding career services, and our established relationships with national employers, we stood out to them.”
“Amazon employs thousands of workers throughout Maryland, and with UMGC’s help they will address the workforce gap and fill additional in-demand jobs in our state and throughout the country,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “This is the company’s way of giving back to not only their employees, but to communities across the U.S.”
The collaboration falls under the company’s Career Choice program, which encourages additional education and workforce training for hourly workers. The retailer’s career program ultimately helps place current workers in better paying, advanced positions in high-demand industries outside of Amazon.
“It’s such a forward-thinking program,” said Ludwig. “Employees can upgrade their skills and make themselves more valuable to Amazon and more attractive in the job market. It’s a win-win situation.”
UMGC was founded in 1947 to serve adult students, many of whom were GIs returning from World War II. In 1949, it became the first university to send faculty to teach active-duty servicemembers in Europe. The program later expanded to Asia in 1956. UMGC professors have taught in war zones, including Vietnam, Kosova, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
"UMGC has been a pioneer in distance learning from the beginning and serving adult students has always been our mission,” said Ludwig.
Registration for classes is now open for Amazon hourly employees, with classes set to begin in early 2020.
According to LinkedIn’s Veteran Opportunity Report, veterans are 426 percent more likely to study computer and information systems security or information assurance, with the University of Maryland Global Campus ranking fifth in the top 10 schools for veterans. Learn more about the university on umgc.edu.