Amazon offers free college tuition for Valley employees

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thousands of Amazon hourly employees will now have the opportunity to further their education for free.

The company announced on Thursday that it's expanding its career advancement opportunities.

Amazon will partner with more than 140 universities, including two schools in the Valley.

More than 6,500 of the employees at an Amazon facility in Fresno will have access to those benefits.

"If Amazon is going to provide that opportunity, then I'm definitely going to pursue that," says Marvin Cifuentes.

Cifuentes is a Workplace Health and Safety specialist at the Amazon fulfillment center in Southwest Fresno.

He is a part of the Career Choice program, recently signing up for classes to further his education.

He tells me he had to drop out ten years ago to take care of his family, so he feels this is now the right time.

"It's something I've always wanted to pursue but just never really had that balance or financial security behind it," he said.
Employees can also build on their English skills, get GED preparation, or finish their Bachelor's degree.

The online retail giant covers 100 percent of the cost for schools, including books and tuition.

"I have a wife and three kids so balancing school, work and home is quite challenging but again, it's a lot easier knowing that I don't have to worry about how I'm going to pay for school or if I do need to take a class," Cifuentes said. "It's during my work schedule to get that accommodated with work."

Amazon's partnerships includes Fresno State and Clovis Community College.

The dean of the business school at Fresno State says this is an exciting opportunity for students and a great investment in the program.

"Of course, it's a win for our community," says Dr. Julie Olson-Buchanan. "Our local community and our efforts to stimulate economic development."

For more information, visit their website.
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