Amazon to Retrain a Third of Employees in $700 Million 'Upskilling' Effort

Galtero Lara
Julio 11, 2019

Inc. (AMZN.O) said it will spend US$700 million to retrain about one-third of its USA workforce in skills needed to thrive in the new economy.

"Through our continued investment in local communities in more than 40 states across the country, we have created tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S. in the past year alone", Amazon SVP Beth Galetti said in a statement. The retraining opportunities will apply to workers across Amazon's corporate offices, fulfillment centers, retail center and transportation networks.The programs cover computer programming, AI-based machine learning skills, and how to operate Amazon's AWS cloud service.

The idea is to help Amazon employees progress into more advanced jobs or even new positions outside of the company.

An expanded Amazon Apprenticeship program will also offer traineeships within the company.

Amazon Technical Academy trains workers in software engineering.

"While many of our employees want to build their careers here, for others it might be a stepping stone to different aspirations", said Beth Galetti, Amazon's head of HR, in a prepared statement.

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"This is an excellent move for Amazon, which has recently come under fire by politicians and activists about substandard working conditions and its role in the underemployment of thousands", said Stewart. The free program, announced Thursday morning, will allow Amazon workers to reboot their careers in hot areas such as data mapping specialist, data scientist, solutions architect and business analyst.

Amazon's "upskilling" plans includes six programs, which will be available to employees at any Amazon location.

The company said it was expanding Career Choice saying it will pay up to 95 percent of an employee's tuition and fees towards a certificate or diploma in their chosen field of study. We think it's important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves. "By offering these benefits to the portion of their workforce which is least upwardly mobile, these workers will be more effective and productive, both in and outside of Amazon". Last year, the e-commerce giant raised the minimum wage for its employees to $15 an hour.

There are now more job openings in the country - 7.4 million - than there are unemployed Americans - 6 million - Amazon said, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"It is very hard to tell where things are going to be in three to five years, particularly with the pace that technology changes", Ardine Williams, Amazon's vice president of workforce development, told Cheddar.

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