The online shopping giant said Thursday that it plans to spend $700 million by 2025 to retrain 100,000 workers, or a third of its USA workforce.
Amazon said its employees would be offered training for positions as mapping specialists, data scientists, business analysts, logistics coordinators and other roles within the company. The training is voluntary, and most of the programs are free to employees, the company said. "Still, I'd imagine these kinds of programs will become more common especially if the labor market remains generally tight, because finding these kinds of skilled workers is increasingly hard", he said. Meanwhile, nontechnical corporate workers can spend several years retraining as software engineers without going back to college.
For example, workers at the company's Shakopee, Minnesota, facility plan to protest the company's policy of using temporary workers and productivity quotas by holding a protest next week to coincide with the company's annual shopping bonanza, Prime Day. The investment is estimated to be among the biggest corporate retraining efforts in America and works out to $7,000 per worker.
The US tech giant said it would spend $700 million for its Upskilling 2025 program to train 100,000 employes to help them move into more skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.
But the retraining program also shows that Bezos adopts a more aggressive stance on alleged employee (mis) treatment than he does on nearly any other matter of public relations. The company has more than 20,000 open jobs in the US, more than half of them in Seattle. Helping employees adjust to the digital transformation of the economy also could assuage labor groups and lawmakers such as Senator Bernie Sanders who say Amazon needs to improve working conditions. The company had 630,600 full-time and part-time employees world-wide in the quarter ended March 31.
However, Amazon has said it's committed to supporting its employees. Machine Learning University will give employees with some technical background the ability to add machine learning skills.
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Some of Amazon's 4,500 MA employees may soon be better positioned to change careers thanks to the tech giant - even if it means leaving Amazon.
Career Choice: Amazon's prepaid tuition program for fulfillment center associates looking to move into high-demand occupations. As part of its AmazonCareerchoice expansion, the company is building additional classrooms in its fulfillment centers globally, and expects to have over 60 on-site classrooms by the end of 2020.
None of Amazon's training will carry a stipulation that employees remain with the company.
"It's a signal that they care about their workers as people", Michael Bush, CEO at Great Place To Work, told ABC News.
Ibrahiim Bayaan, Freightwaves' chief economist, said Amazon is addressing a larger issue facing many American businesses, namely how to retrain its lower-skilled workers whose jobs its own technology is displacing.