Queens College participates in CUNY-Amazon educational partnership

Queens College
Queens College campus, located at 65-30 Kissena Blvd. in Flushing. (Photo courtesy of Queens College)

Queens College will be part of a new partnership between the City University of New York and Amazon that helps the retailer’s hourly employees pursue higher education. 

As of January, through Amazon’s Career Choice program, the company will provide an annual benefit covering tuition and select fees for all qualifying hourly employees accepted into Queens College. 

This will substantially lighten the financial burden for those who are juggling work-life responsibilities as they seek a more prosperous and fulfilling future for themselves and their families, Queens College President Frank Wu said. 

“Our talented students aspire to succeed — in the classroom and as dedicated employees who strive to provide for their families,” Wu said. “In recent years, nearly 60 percent of our students held down at least one job annually while pursuing a degree. We are so pleased to participate in the new Amazon Career Choice partnership that allows Amazon’s hourly employees to attend CUNY colleges and receive tuition and fee payments. Opportunities like this —that improve students’ lives — are why Queens College was established.” 

Starting with a focus on associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, the initiative is open to students pursuing any major at eight CUNY colleges, with at least one campus available in each of New York City’s five boroughs. CUNY’s partnership, Amazon’s first such collaboration in New York State, is part of the company’s commitment to provide educational and upskilling opportunities to more than 750,000 hourly employees at four national and more than 140 local universities and colleges. 

Through this collaboration, Amazon workers based in New York City will have access to over 500 associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs at CUNY — including nearly 70 bachelor’s programs at Queens College —voffered online or in-person. Options include in-demand fields such as technology, healthcare and green energy. This initial cohort of CUNY colleges represents a footprint in each borough to provide locations in physical proximity to Amazon operations. Queens College is near Amazon facilities in Maspeth and Woodside. 

“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,” said Carley Graham Garcia, head of community affairs at Amazon in New York. “We’re thrilled today to be partnering with CUNY 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 CUNY 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.” 

CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez thanked Amazon for its commitment to higher education for its employees and said he is looking forward to working with Amazon while expanding CUNY’s role as one of the nation’s premiere engines of economic opportunity. 

“This important partnership is a powerful example of how the private sector can join forces with the City University of New York to advance workers’ education, promote economic mobility and help rebuild New York City’s post-pandemic economy all at the same time,” Rodriguez said. 

Career training is just one of the industry-leading benefits that Amazon offers to its team. In addition, Amazon pays employees an average starting wage of $18 per hour, which is more than double the federal minimum wage, and provides comprehensive health benefits, paid time off, up to 20 weeks of fully paid parental leave, and additional benefits for employees and their families. 

Since its launch in 2012, Amazon’s Career Choice has helped provide education for more than 50,000 employees. As of this announcement, the Career Choice program works with more than 180 education providers across the United States, from colleges and universities to partners providing industry certifications, English language proficiency, high school completion programs, and college preparatory courses. Career Choice is one of nine free skills training and education programs that Amazon offers to its employees as part of its Upskilling 2025 pledge. 

To learn more about Career Choice, click hereTo learn more about Amazon’s $1.2 billion investment to upskill 300,000 employees in the next four years, click hereJobs are available across New York. Interested candidates can see all open positions here. To learn more about CUNY Career Success Initiatives, click here.   

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