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Amazon to offer potential online education

Illustrations by Brian Silverman/The Skyline View

Illustrations by Brian Silverman/The Skyline View

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Amazon advances to promote educational opportunities for its workers.

Like many other major corporations such as McDonald’s with its Hamburger University and Apple with it’s Apple University, Amazon has potential to create its own educational program. These company education systems help inspire workers to continue their education through the big companies themselves.

Although “Amazon University,” a predicted idea by policy analyst Alexander Holt, it is a theoretical approach of what will happen in the future, the company is already taking leaps toward this forecast.

In 2012, Amazon established Career Choice, a program in which Amazon pre-pays for 95% of tuition for full-time hourly associates to take college courses. Whether the associates choose to stay with the company after they earn a degree or not, Amazon strives to inspire its employees to pursue work-related goals.

Essentially, employees can dive into the workforce and put education on the back burner. “Amazon University” is
comparable to a more advanced vocational school, with motives similar to community colleges. As vocational schools, such as DeVry and University of Phoenix, provide technical skills needed to advance in the work force, Amazon’s Career Choice offers associate degrees for high in-demand and high paying occupations. Explain more “I don’t think a degree from Amazon would get you anywhere because of that fact that it’s an Amazon degree,”Ana Mae Doria, a nursing major at Skyline said. “It’s sort of like getting a degree from
McDonald’s and trying to get a job at Burger King.”

However, whether or not these degrees are valid doesn’t matter to students in search of money. “Hell yeah, I would definitely drop out of college and work for Amazon if they’re going to pay me,” said Kiera Simmons, a student-athlete at City College of San Francisco. “Plus, I still get a degree. I’m all for the discounts, so sign me up for that.” At community colleges like Skyline, associate degrees are offered in many areas such as Nursing, Biotechnology and English regardless of demand.

With Amazon’s program, students can earn degrees specifically for occupations where demand is high. For example, “aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, nursing, and many other fields” as stated on Amazon’s Career Choice page are all high in demand.

Some professors do not agree with this potential educational opportunity.

“I don’t know if it would help out those who aren’t ready for college. If you’re not ready for college, then you’re really not prepared for life. It does a disservice to the students.”

Amazon did not get back for a personal quote. “There’s been so much interest that we are now building onsite classrooms so college and technical classes can be taught inside our fulfillment centers, making it even easier for associates to achieve these goals,” said CEO Jeff Bezos in his 2015 shareholder letter. “For
others, Amazon might be a stepping stone on the way to a job somewhere else – a job that may require new skills.”

With “Amazon University,” there are consequences that colleges and universities must face. The creation of this system allots Amazon the power to knock down enrollment rates at accredited college institutions. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollments at two-year and four-year institutions decreased by 2.3 percent in the fall of 2015. With Amazon offering employees degrees, the need to actually go to a junior college or a four-year reduces in importance.

“I think enrollment at Skyline will be the same,” nursing major Deanna De La Cruz said when asked about whether or not “Amazon University” would effect Skyline.

Another Skyline student saw the latter. “[enrollment rates] would drop,” said Roann DeLa Vega, a psychology major at Skyline. “Because everyone already uses Amazon, they’d probably want to try it out. Then Skyline wouldn’t have as many people enrolling because they’d be working at Amazon.”

So what does this mean for Skyline and other community colleges around the world? With a large company like Amazon offering jobs and educational opportunities to full time employees, it gives individuals a jump start on their career paths without having to go to college first. Granted, “Amazon University” is only a potential idea, but the company is heading in directions that may make this prediction a reality.

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Amazon to offer potential online education