The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Monday a partnership with Amazon in which the e-tail giant will make available several hundred jobs with flexible hours to financially challenged LAUSD graduates — helping to ensure they will not have to delay or forgo college.
According to the LAUSD, the program will be available to district graduates who enroll full-time in community colleges, and students will be eligible to participate immediately after their graduation in June.
"This (COVID-19) crisis is having the greatest impact on students from families who are struggling to get by," LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said. "We've seen it in job losses, increased food and housing insecurity and higher rates of illness and death due to COVID-19. We have also seen the impact this crisis is having in declining numbers of high school graduates who are attending two-year colleges."
Beutner said the portion of graduates from the Class of 2020 who attended two-year colleges directly after graduation decreased to 30% from 39% in 2019 — a drop of about 3,000 students.
The greatest declines occurred in low-income communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, he said.
"Many students told us they couldn't afford to continue their studies because they needed to work to help support their family," Beutner said.
"We reached out to Amazon to help provide the missing piece. Los Angeles Unified will help the students graduate high school, our community college system will provide them with tuition-free enrollment, and now Amazon is helping with the third leg of the stool — a good-paying job with flexible hours to allow students to continue their education."
The jobs may include preparing Amazon orders for delivery or working at Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods supermarkets, and Beutner said he hopes Amazon is just the first company to participate in such a partnership with the district.
"This partnership with Amazon is just a start," he said. "I hope many other employers in the region join us in this effort to make sure every student has the opportunity to pursue their dreams."
Amazon's Southern California Manager of External Affairs, Marie Lloyd, said, "Trying to balance a job and a class load is a challenge. This partnership with Los Angeles Unified will help ensure hundreds of Los Angeles students from the unprecedented class of 2021 have access to good-paying jobs that are flexible enough to support their higher education ambitions and future career development."
Meanwhile, Amazon will also host resume-building, professional development and practice job interview sessions for students.
Amazon Web Services plans to expand the partnership by providing free, comprehensive training beginning this summer to teachers and schools to help deepen their computer science curriculum. Students who later complete that course work will earn a certificate in cloud computing, equipping them with the skills needed for careers in the tech industry and be eligible to obtain higher-paying technology jobs at Amazon while attending community college as soon as spring of 2022.
Students interested in learning more about the program can learn more here.