Amazon has said it will pay college tuition fees for more than 750,000 of its frontline staff in a drive to recruit and retain workers in the face of stiff labour market competition.
The internet shopping giant plans to spend in the region of $1.2bn (£870m) over the next four years on the education and skills initiative for its US employees, including those who pack and ship online orders at its warehouses.
The move by Amazon follows other companies, such as Walmart and Target, which are already offering to foot the college bills of their staff.
Workforce shortages have left firms scrambling to fill vacancies and so employers have been offering a range of incentives and perks to attract workers, including offering pay rises and bonuses.
The Amazon scheme will launch in January, with staff eligible 90 days after they have started work.
As well as funding degrees, the initiative will also pay for high school diplomas, English proficiency certificates and other skills training.
Fees will be paid in advance to ensure employees do not need existing funds to start getting the education they want.
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They will be able to receive funding for education as long as they remain at the company, with no limit to the number of years they can benefit.
Dave Clark, chief executive of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, said: “Amazon is now the largest job creator in the US, and we know that investing in free skills training for our teams can have a huge impact for hundreds of thousands of families across the country.”
He added: “This new investment builds on years of experience supporting employees in growing their careers, including some unique initiatives like building more than 110 on-site classrooms for our employees in Amazon fulfilment centres across 37 states.”