July 25, 2022

SUNY Empire Partners with Amazon

Amazon Career Choice program provides opportunities for employees to earn their degree through SUNY Empire

2 Union Building

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – July 25, 2022) SUNY Empire State College has been accepted as a premier member into the Amazon Career Choice program, an education benefit that empowers Amazon employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. SUNY Empire is the first institution within the State University of New York to partner with the Amazon Career Choice program.


Partnership with SUNY Empire will make it more convenient for Amazon’s hourly employees to earn their undergraduate degree online, in person at SUNY Empire locations, at Amazon Career Choice classrooms located across New York state, or a combination of all three. Through its Career Choice program, Amazon provides funding for employees' tuition, books, and fees with no lifetime limit on participating.


SUNY Empire and Amazon are collaborating to hold fall information sessions for Amazon employees across New York state, beginning with the company’s two Staten Island distribution centers, as well as distribution centers in Albany and Buffalo. The goal is to eventually expand the partnership to eligible employees in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 


The college will also begin offering college courses onsite at Amazon’s Career Choice Classrooms in Staten Island and Albany in the spring of 2023. In the U.S. alone, the company is investing $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 Amazon employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs. 


SUNY Empire was selected to Amazon’s Career Choice program, in part, because of its unique position within the State University of New York system as a pioneer and leading provider of online and hybrid education and supports for working adults. The college is also a national leader in prior learning assessment (PLA), evaluating and granting college credit for relevant prior work and life experience. Last year, SUNY Empire’s graduates were awarded nearly 45,000 PLA credits, saving them time and money in completing their undergraduate degrees. SUNY Empire offers more than 110 online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs.


New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “I’m excited about the collaboration between SUNY Empire and Amazon and the resulting investment in the New York state workforce. This is an attractive opportunity for working adults who need flexible, affordable educational options so they can earn their college degrees while working and supporting their families.”


SUNY Empire State College President Lisa Vollendorf said, “SUNY Empire State College’s mission is to provide motivated adult learners with access to innovative, flexible, high-quality academic programs that empower people and strengthen communities. Through our participation in the Amazon Career Choice program, we will build the diversity of our students and provide access for Amazon employees to affordably and conveniently earn college credit for their experiences while they work, earn their degrees, and tend to their personal and community commitments. We are excited to provide access to educational opportunities to Amazon employees.”


Head of Community Affairs at Amazon in New York, Carley Graham Garcia, said, “At Amazon, 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’re thrilled today to be partnering with SUNY Empire on our Career Choice program to give our employees access to pursue the education path that fits their passions. Whether employees are looking to finish their bachelor’s degree at SUNY Empire or build on their foundational skills of English proficiency or GED preparation with our national partners, we’re prepared to meet our employees wherever they are on their educational journey.”


SUNY Empire State College Executive Director of Partnership Programs, Sue Epstein said, “I am looking forward to our participation in the Amazon Career Choice program as we grow access to education and provide opportunities for Amazon employees to reach their personal, professional, and educational goals.”




About Amazon Career Choice Program

Launched in 2012, the Amazon Career Choice program provides a variety of education and upskilling opportunities to its employees, 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. Career Choice is live in 14 countries, and more than 50,000 Amazon employees have participated globally since inception. Amazon maintains more than 110 onsite Career Choice classrooms across the U.S., and more than 20 in Europe. For more information, visit www.amazoncareerchoice.com.



About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College educates more than 16,000 students per year in person, online, and through a blend of both, at locations in every region of New York and at eight international sites worldwide. Together with one of SUNY Empire's more than 600 faculty mentors, each student designs their own individualized pathway to a college degree that accommodates their schedule and awards credit for prior college-level learning. SUNY Empire awards approximately 3,000 degrees annually and 94% of graduates stay in New York state. Today, more than 94,000 SUNY Empire alumni are entrepreneurs, veterans, and active members of the military, professional athletes, teachers, medical professionals, and leaders in their field, as well as in their communities. To learn more, visit www.esc.edu and follow the college on social media @SUNYEmpire.