Online retailing giant Amazon has set aside US$700 million to equip a third of its American workforce with technology skills.
The free re-training will enable employees to move into high-skilled roles or pursue a career in other firms, the retailer stated in a press release.
“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, senior vice president at Amazon.
Over the past five years, according to Amazon, there has been an uptick in demand for roles such as data mapping specialist, data scientist, solutions architect and business analyst, as well as logistics coordinator, process improvement manager, and transportation specialist.
As an online retailer, Amazon needs to work continuously to improve its shopping experience. However, high-skilled technology workers are hard to find in the US with a less than 4% unemployment rate.
Today, there are more job openings (7.4 million) than there are unemployed Americans (6 million), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Since 2018, the retailer is paying minimum wage of US$15 to all its US employees, in addition to numerous employee benefits, including healthcare and paid parental leave.
To make the upskilling program a success, Amazon has decided to leverage all its educational resources. Its newly launched Amazon Technical Academy promises to prepare non-technical workers to transition into highs-skilled roles, including software engineering. It also runs a Machine Learning University (MLU), which offers employees with tech backgrounds the opportunity to access machine learning skills.