Amazon’s Move Is the Solution to Our Country’s Education Crisis

You won’t be surprised by these numbers, but it is important to have them in order:

The undergraduate tuition rate in 1990 at any public college, or university was $2,750. It jumped to $9,400 in 2020 just 30 years after it was first reported.

Private tuition is too scary for me so I will not even consider it.

In the meantime, the average salary in America grew only by 25% during the same period.

It’s obvious where I am going. Families are finding it increasingly difficult to afford education that will allow them to pursue higher-paying careers. Many Americans find themselves stuck in low-paying hourly jobs and wonder how to move up from $15 an hour with no benefits to a decent salary with health insurance, 401k, or a respectable wage.

Answer: U.S. businesses.

Amazon, which is suffering from an acute shortage of labor, recently revealed as a pivot to their education subsidy program. They’re now funding bachelor degrees for hourly workers, instead of providing tuition reimbursement for associate degree programs.

It is about time.

The Wall Street Journal stated that $15/hour was not sufficient to provide a decent living standard. Amazon has realized this. They’re not raising the wages, but they are playing the long-game: Train their staff to build loyalty, and ideally have employees return their education and training into the company.

The reality of modern education means that the subsidies program has undergone additional changes. The company will now pay for tuition and books when it is due.

You may be asking: What is the point of education? Why should business pay for education?

There have been many treatises on education and American society. (This is from Ted Dintersmith at Forbes). It opens the door to a thoughtful electorate, engaged society, invested public, and a discerning electorate. This elevates the quality of our work and allows us to innovate and grow, which strengthens the nation’s fabric. A rising tide lifts all ships, another well-known aphorism.

Inaccessibility to education has been a problem for the past 30-40 years. Cash-flush subsidies for businesses are the way forward. What is the reason? Yes, to improve society but, to put it bluntly, to ensure long-term growth in the private sector. It’s a win-win situation.

Let’s not forget about Amazon and the costs associated with them. It is only a small amount.

According to the Journal, Amazon plans to invest $1.2 billion in this educational program by 2025. This is a significant amount considering that Amazon made almost $68 billion just one quarter ago.

Target, Chipotle and Starbucks are just a few of the other tier-one companies that have joined this fray. This is creating an era of change and, we hope, setting a new standard in American business.

You want to retain talent. You don’t have to pay them for their labor; subsidize their future.

Inc.com columnsists’ opinions are not the views of Inc.com.

Publiated at Wed 15 Sep 2021, 07:05:06 +0000

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