Amazon will spend more than $700 million to upskill a third of its American workforce. The company said its goal is to help employees move into new jobs—both technical and non-technical—across nearly all of its operations.
The “Upskilling 2025” effort will create programs for employees of all professional backgrounds, at all of the company’s locations. According to TechCrunch, the initiative will cost about $7,000 per worker, and is one the largest corporate retraining programs ever organized.Given @Amazon’s continued growth and need to fill jobs not many people are trained for, its Upskilling 2025 initiative makes sense, observers say. #HR #Learning Click To Tweet
Among the programs announced were Amazon Technical Academy, which will prepare non-technical employees for software engineering roles; Associate2Tech, which will train fulfillment center workers for IT jobs; and Machine Learning University, which will give technical employees the chance to develop machine-learning skills. Pre-paid tuition programs are also included in the effort.
Amazon acknowledges the initiative will help workers pursue careers at other companies. “While many of our employees want to build their careers here, for others it might be a stepping stone to different aspirations,” said Senior Vice President of Human Resources Beth Galetti. “We think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves.”
Amazon expect to employ about 300,000 workers in the U.S. by the end of 2019. (It employs more than 630,000 people around the world.) Among its fastest-growing jobs in the last five years were data mapping specialist (832 percent growth), data scientist (505 percent), solutions architect (454 percent), security engineer (229 percent) and business analyst (160 percent).
Within customer fulfillment, highly skilled roles such as logistics coordinator, process improvement manager and transportation specialist expanded by over 400 percent during that time.
Observers say that, given Amazon’s continued growth and increasing need to fill jobs not many people are trained for, the upskilling initiative makes sense. “The harder it is to hire workers from the outside, the more sense it makes to invest in training the workers you already have,” Jed Kolko, Indeed’s chief economist, told the Associated Press.
The news comes just days after workers at Amazon’s facilities outside Minneapolis said they’d stage a one-day walkout to protest tough working conditions, increasing workloads and limited opportunities for advancement.
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