Through Amazon Career Choice, Amy learned new tech skills that helped her find a career in data analytics and achieve a $60K wage gain.

As industries evolve, so do the skills required to navigate them effectively. The stark reality, as highlighted by the World Economic Forum, is that within this decade, six in 10 workers will need upskilling to remain competitive. A disconcerting contrast arises: currently, only half of workers have access to the training they require.

Against this backdrop, Amazon boldly steps forward as a trailblazer, championing the growth of its workforce through its groundbreaking initiative, Amazon Career Choice. Amazon Career Choice not only recognizes the transformational power of upskilling but also sets an example for others to follow. For Amazon employees eligible for the program, this commitment translates into real avenues for career growth, facilitated by diverse training and upskilling options in partnerships like the one with Merit America.

What began as a modest cohort of 12 Merit America learners at a single Dallas Fulfillment Center in 2019, has grown over the past five years into an expansive partnership that has extended its reach, training more than 2,000 Amazon Associates across the nation.

For employers like Amazon, and others, this collaboration has resulted in increased retention rates, heightened employee satisfaction, and improved productivity, ultimately transforming the careers of thousands of workers. Employees who participate in the upskilling program have reported on average an annual wage gain of $26,000 three months post-program, validated by a recent analysis by UVA.

Within this shared mission of change, empowerment, and excellence, stories are woven. None resonate more profoundly than that of Amy Laird—a testament to the transformative force of upskilling. In 2019, Amy’s world revolved around “making ends meet” while striving to shape a more sustainable future. As a single mother and pit operator at an Amazon fulfillment center, Amy’s life shifted when she serendipitously came across a Merit America newsletter in a bathroom stall.

“Being a single mom, you know, having bills that just don’t stop, money wasn’t plentiful. I wasn’t one of those people who had six months of reserves in the bank for a rainy day. With Amazon’s Career Choice, them covering the cost of my program made all the difference in not only my success but my willingness to even be open to the idea.”

Inspired by a vision of progress, Amy seized the opportunities offered by Merit America and Amazon Career Choice, investing over 250 hours in technical training and more than 80 hours in her professional skills through the program. With guidance from her Merit America career coaches and support from her peers, Amy successfully earned her Google IT Support Certificate—an achievement that opened new doors for her. Just before her graduation, Amy secured a role as a PC Technician at TekSystems.

“You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to make bachelor’s degree money. Many people would’ve counted me out, but Merit looked past me and saw me as a human who needed a chance.”

Amy’s newly acquired technical skills not only earned her recognition from her team at TekSystems but also laid the foundation for multiple promotions during her early years. Since her graduation in 2019, Amy’s remarkable career trajectory has propelled her to substantial advancements, culminating in her current supervisory role as a Data Analyst. This remarkable progress allowed her to raise her annual income to an impressive $80,000.

“Going through the Merit America program and taking a chance on myself was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

As the Amazon-Merit America partnership continues to orchestrate transformation, it stands as proof of the limitless potential of upskilling. Merit America’s goal to drive economic mobility for tens of thousands across the U.S., putting $1 billion into the pockets of hardworking workers in low-wage roles by 2025, aligns with Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 Pledge and serves as a resounding testament to the transformative impact of upskilling and skills-based hiring on economic mobility in the United States. To learn more about partnering with Merit America, click here.

About Merit America:

Merit America is a national nonprofit preparing workers stuck in low-wage roles for family-sustaining careers at scale. Named by the New York Times as “the hybrid future of training programs for the disadvantaged,” we offer fast and flexible education and job success programs that work for working adults, and are aligned to the most in-demand roles in the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy. Founded in 2018, we now serve thousands of working learners across the country –on track to our goal of driving $1B in wage gains by 2025. For more information, visit

About Amazon Career Choice:
Amazon’s Career Choice program is an education benefit that empowers employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. The program meets individual learners where they are on their education journey through a variety of education and upskilling opportunities including pre-paid college tuition, industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs, and educational foundations such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas, and GEDs. In the United States, the company is investing $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs. 

Amazon’s Career Choice program has a rigorous selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing partners that are focused on helping employees through their education programs, assisting them with job placements, and overall offering education that leads to career success.