Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has announced plans to invest $700 million over the next six years to train 100,000 employees for higher-skilled jobs. Up to 95 percent of the cost of tuition would be paid for fulfillment-center workers looking to earn a certificate or diploma in a field that’s in high demand. Training programs will be also be offered to other workers throughout all levels of the company.
Amazon is the second-biggest U.S.-based private employer after Walmart. Worldwide, it has more than 630,000 employees, with roughly 300,000 of them based in the U.S. Amazon is predicting that about a third of its employees will take advantage of the training programs being offered. Beth Galetti, a senior vice president of human resources at Amazon, said, “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 currently offers many lower-skilled warehouse jobs that are expected to be replaced by machines in coming years. As machines enter the workforce, employees trained in high-tech skills will be needed for developing and maintaining them. Amazon said the training it is offering will provide its workers with the skills to transition into these software engineering positions and other technical roles.
Amazon plans to offer a range of programs including ones for learning skills for other jobs at Amazon and ones for earning certifications that could be used outside the company. Some of these programs will be offered through the company’s Machine Learning University or its Amazon Technical Academy. Employees will also have the opportunity to participate in apprenticeships or get Amazon Web Services cloud certification at a discount.
With a strong economy and unemployment near a 50-year low, many businesses are spending more on training and investing in retaining their employees. There is strong demand for workers skilled in logistics and transportation. More high-skilled workers are needed for software engineering and IT technology. By providing training in these fields to its employees, Amazon is giving them more options for their future.