Amazon will spend over $700m (£558m) to retrain a third of its United States workforce by 2025 as it pushes hard to automate swathes of its manual labour jobs.
The company announced the plan in a news release Thursday saying the training program will help staffers "move into more highly skilled roles within or outside Amazon".
"While many of our employees want to build their careers here, for others it might be a stepping stone to different aspirations", Beth Galetti, Amazon's senior vice president of human resources, said in a statement.
Amazon Technical Academy: a training and job placement program that equips nontechnical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into, and thrive in, software engineering careers.
Amazon found that over the past five years, its fastest-growing highly skilled jobs include data mapping specialist, data scientist, solutions architect, security engineer, and business analyst.
In the tightest labor market in a half-century, Amazon is competing with other companies to hire the best and brightest and could help sidestep that challenge with a renewed emphasis on training.
"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.
Amazon says the initiative will distribute the funding to both technical and non-technical people from various departments across the company, such as tech hubs, retail stores, transportation network, corporate offices and fulfillment centers. Finally, AWS Training and Certification lets employees train for technical careers utilizing the AWS Cloud. According to Amazon's website, the retraining programs will largely be conducted virtually and via on-site classrooms. We think it's important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves. "In addition, robotic animation benefits employees, as they take over performance of fulfillment centers' less desirable, more tedious tasks". The company did implement a $15-an-hour minimum wage a year ago, yet labor grievances have endured.
Amazon is embarking on a $700 million effort to retrain its US workforce, in a high-profile acknowledgment of the impact of technology and automation on jobs and the workforce.
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.