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Workforce Development/Missouri Job Center News Releases

Posted on: January 29, 2018 leader Juan Garcia to speak at Feb. 20 MOmentum luncheon


As if the results of the MOmentum: State of the Workforce Survey and the glazed pork loin with roasted shallot and fennel gravy on the menu aren’t enough of a draw, those who attend the fourth annual MOmentum: State of the Workforce Luncheon on Feb. 20 will learn how global retailer developed one of the most innovative employee career development programs in history. 

Juan Garcia, Amazon’s global leader for career advancement, is the scheduled keynote speaker for the event, and will discuss the company’s unique view on career development and advancement.

“… we understand that, while many associates come to Amazon for a long-term career, others see Amazon as just one step in their personal career journey. It’s our goal to help people pursue their dreams, even if that means leaving the employment of Amazon,” Garcia said.

As an example, he cites Amazon’s Career Choice Program, which pre-pays or reimburses nearly 100 percent of tuition and fees for its 300,000 employees, or “Amazonians,” to earn certificates and associate degrees in high-wage, in-demand occupations.

“With Career Choice, we try to eliminate barriers that associates may face. The first way we do that is by pre-paying for tuition and books, up to 95 percent of the cost, rather than asking associates to front the cash and ask for reimbursement,” Garcia says. “Another barrier we eliminate is the uncertainty of whether going back to school will be worth it. We do the homework, working with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and others, to find out which fields are in high demand and will lead to real jobs. We also help with time, by holding classes right on-site in our Fulfillment Centers and scheduling them when they make sense for the associate’s work patterns.”  

In addition to the Career Choice Program, Garcia will discuss what Amazon calls The Offer, wherein once a year, the company offers to pay fulfillment center employees up to $5,000 to quit.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explained the policy, first called Pay to Quit, in a 2014 letter to shareholders.
“The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company,” Bezos wrote.

Prior to joining Amazon in 2015, Garcia spent six years serving as assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, appointed to the position by President Barack Obama. Garcia also served a term in the Texas House of Representatives. He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School. 

About MOmentum

MOmentum: State of the Workforce Luncheon is hosted by the City of Springfield’s Department of Workforce Development and sponsored by the Ozark Region Workforce Development Board, City Utilities, The Network and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. The event, now in is fourth year, brings together hundreds of area employers, human-resource managers and executives to hear the findings of the annual MOmentum: State of the Workforce Survey and share insights on improving the quality of the local workforce, meeting the needs of small and rural businesses and preparing students for tomorrow’s jobs.

MOmentum 2018 will be held at 11:30 a.m., Feb. 20 at the White River Conference Center. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at A limited amount may still be available for purchase at the door.


For more information, contact Assistant Director of Workforce Development Sally Payne at 417-887-4343. 

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