Amazon.com Offers Tuition Reimbursement
Amazon has begun a new tuition-reimbursement program to encourage hourly employees to further educate themselves in disciplines relating to their careers.
The retailer has said they will pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses toward technical and vocational certifications or associate’s degrees in career-relative disciplines, including engineering, information technology, mechanical and electrical trades, healthcare, construction, transportation and accounting.
Full-time hourly employees can choose to study online or in a classroom at an accredited school in an approved field of study. Amazon has said it will fund education only in fields that are “well-paying and in high demand,” according to unbiased data from sources including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employees must have been employed by Amazon.com for at least three years to be eligible.
Amazon follows suit to a number of other companies in the supply chain realm that offer tuition reimbursement. The UPS Tuition Assistance Program offers assistance to full-time, non-union employees, part-time management employees and part-time union employees. According to their website, UPS has provided $187 million in tuition assistance for 113,000 college students.
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Lockheed Martin offers up to $7,500 a year for tuition reimbursement in courses from leading educational institutions, as well as classes through the Institute for Leadership Excellence and online learning management system.
Raytheon Company offers an educational assistance program for approved courses, certificates and degree programs relevant to an employee’s position. Employees must be full time and can receive up to $10,000 in assistance each year.
Home Depot offers salaried and full-time hourly associates tuition reimbursement for the college, university or technical school that an employee chooses as long as their course selection meets eligibility requirements. Home Depot also has partnered with Capella, Kaplan and Strayer Universities to allow associates to earn a degree at a discount.
Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.