Amazon pledged today to train 100,000 employees coding and other technical skills by 2025, which could be used in job openings at the company or elsewhere. Amazon is dedicating $700 million to its Upskilling 2025 pledge. Employees across the job spectrum from its transportation network, retail stores, fulfillment centers, tech hubs, and corporate offices can participate.
“We have created tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S. in the past year alone,” said Beth Galetti, senior vice president of Human Resources. “For us, creating these opportunities is just the beginning.”
Across the U.S., there is more job availability (7.4 million) than there are unemployed people (6 million). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that job areas with the fastest growth will be those requiring more skill and education.
After undergoing Amazon’s new education program, employees will have better skills to get jobs elsewhere. But the company is not concerned about employees jumping ship after it pays for their education.
“While many of our employees want to build their careers here,” Galettis said, “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 is launching or expanding six educational programs as part of its initiative.
1. Amazon Technical Academy
Aimed at training and job placement, this program is geared toward upskilling employees to software engineer careers. Software engineers from Amazon created the program.
The program is geared toward fulfillment center employees and gives them the opportunity to move into technical roles, regardless of how much they know about IT or any previous experience. It’s a 90-day, fully paid program. Participants also have paid study time during their work week.
3. Machine Learning University
Machine learning skills can usually only be acquired through higher education. Eligible participants already have a background in technology and coding. Machine learning is increasing in importance in helping customers. Amazon has designated 400 Machine Learning Scientists to teach the course.
4. Career Choice
The program was launched in 2012. Amazon pays up to 95 percent of an employee’s tuition or fees for programs that lead to jobs that are in high demand. Around the world, the company will build more classrooms in its fulfillment centers. It plans to have 60 by the end of 2020.
5. Amazon Apprenticeship
Participants have a paid incentive to participate in this program, which includes classroom training and on-the-job training within Amazon. The program has already helped hundreds of employees gain access to technical careers in Amazon.
6. AWS Training and Certification
The program is designed to “close the cloud skills gap in the industry.” The demand for those with cloud skills is high. Participants will build cloud knowledge and be able to undergo AWS Certification at a discount.
In a job market this competitive, it’s important to have programs that retain employees and foster loyalty. Although most companies don’t have the financial resources of Amazon to pledge an education program of this scale, incentives for continuing education may be the ticket to attracting and retaining employees.