In one of the biggest corporate re-training initiatives to date, Amazon has announced it will be up-skilling one third of its US workforce.
The ecommerce giant this week pledged to retrain 100,000 of its employees across the US by 2025.
The commitment will cost Amazon more than $700 million, equivalent to $7,000 per retrained employee.
READ MORE: Amazon workers plan strike for Prime Day
The training will be offered to employees in Amazon’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfilment centres, retail stores and transportation network.
The new programme, called Upskilling 2025, encompasses a range of new and expanded training, all of which are voluntary and the majority of which are free.
• Amazon Technical Academy, which equips non-technical Amazon employees with the skills to transition into software engineering careers;
• Associate2Tech, which trains fulfilment centre associates to move into technical roles regardless of their previous IT experience;
• Machine Learning University, offering employees with technical backgrounds the opportunity to access machine learning skills via an on-site training program;
• AmazonCareer Choice, a pre-paid tuition program designed to train fulfilment centre associates in high-demand occupations of their choice;
• Amazon Apprenticeship, a Department of Labor-certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon; and
•AWS Training and Certification, which provides employees with courses to build practical AWS Cloud knowledge for use in a technical field.
“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,” said Amazon senior vice president of human resources Beth Galetti.
“For us, creating these opportunities is just the beginning. While many of our employees want to build their careers here, for others it might be a stepping stone to different aspirations. 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’s announcement comes days before Amazon warehouse workers in Minnesota plan to strike during the retailer’s Prime Day. It’s the first time a walkout has been hosted in the US during its vital sales event.
Workers at the Shakopee centre are set to stage a six-hour walkout on Monday July 15, with a number of white-collar tech employees and engineers reported to be flying in to Minnesota to join the demonstration in hopes it will make it harder for Amazon to ignore demands.
The protestors will be calling on Amazon to take more action against climate change, ease quotas and make its temporary workers more permanent employees.