NCCU Selected as First N.C. HBCU to Join Amazon Career Choice Network

Posted August 23, 2022, 1:13PM

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has been selected as an education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice Program, providing Amazon’s hourly employees access to its award-winning undergraduate and graduate degree programs in more than 140 fields and disciplines, ranging from business administration to health sciences.

Launched in 2012, 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 foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas and GEDs. In the U.S., 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.

NCCU is the first North Carolina historically Black college and university (HBCU) selected as an Amazon Career Choice school. 

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us,” said Damon R. Wade, Ph.D., NCCU associate vice chancellor of enrollment management. “Anytime you can serve as a preferred education partner for a major corporation, you work diligently to make it happen. There are very few organizations we can partner with that can have the impact that Amazon can. We’re currently scheduling some virtual recruitment opportunities for their employees.”

Kimberly Phifer-McGhee, Ed.D., NCCU’s associate vice chancellor for extended studies and student support, said a small core group of people across campus have been meeting to prepare for the first cohort of Amazon Career Choice students that are expected to enroll this fall. Continuing education falls under Phifer-McGhee’s purview, so she’ll be intimately involved with the program. 

Amazon officials have told NCCU leaders to expect around 25 students to enroll initially, she said. 

“My team is making sure we have people in place so that when the Amazon employees become NCCU students they know who to reach out to,” Phifer-McGhee said. “We’re also working to ensure we have the best customer service available and have identified a person in my unit who will serve as the student support service specialist. She will serve as their liaison as they learn the campus. We’re predicting we’re probably going to have a large number of Amazon employees taking our online courses.”

NCCU Provost David H. Jackson Jr. said the Amazon partnership is a testament to the university’s appeal and Eagle Promise commitment that it makes to all of its student scholars to support, train and empower their future career.

“Amazon could have chosen any of the state’s 11 HBCUs to launch its Career Choice program, but we’re glad they chose us,” Jackson said. “Clearly Amazon officials recognize that North Carolina Central University offers a flexible and unique array of academic programs coupled with local and global engagement opportunities, leadership development and career readiness to students, particularly those with a nontraditional path. We look forward to continuing to grow our relationship with Amazon.”

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

“We’re looking forward to North Carolina Central University coming on board as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” said Tammy Thieman, global program lead of Amazon’s Career Choice program. “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. We have intentionally created a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources, and continuous improvements to the experience. Today, over 80,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we’ve seen first-hand how it can transform their lives.”

For more information on NCCU’s program options, visit the university’s Amazon Career Choice webpage at                                    

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) prepares students to succeed in the global marketplace. Consistently ranked as a top Historically Black College or University, NCCU’s flagship programs in the sciences, education, law, business, nursing and the arts prepare students for professions ranging from clinical research to information science. Founded in 1910, NCCU remains committed to diversity in and access to higher education. With a mission to investigate health disparities, the university’s two state-of-the-art research institutes give students real-world experience working alongside faculty researchers and pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry professionals. The university’s Strategic Plan 2019-2024, Charting a New Landscape for Student-Center Success, focuses on four areas: student access and success; innovation, research and entrepreneurship; collaboration and partnerships; and institutional sustainability. Visit

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