Amazon spending US$700 million to retrain 100,000 U.S. workers by 2025


The tech giant will offer voluntary programs in its corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centres, transportation networks and retail stores. For example, one program teaches non-technical employees to code; another offers tuition for fulfillment-centre workers to study an occupation of their choice, even if it isn’t relevant to the company. (Wall Street Journal)

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Talking point: The initiative is meant to help address the skills gap at Amazon, as increased automation renders some jobs—like those in its warehouses—redundant. At the same time, the company has a dearth of qualified workers to fill more technical roles, like software development, with 200,000 job openings in the U.S. alone. It’s an issue the e-retailer’s competitors have also started addressing: IBM offers employees master’s programs in artificial intelligence, and Walmart has launched a program that lets employees take classes in computer science, business and supply-chain management at one of six U.S. universities. The announcement lands a few days before Amazon Prime Day, the company’s biggest sales event. Amazon’s Minnesota fulfillment-centre workers are planning to strike that day over what they allege are poor wages and working conditions. The retraining commitment—worth about US$7,000 per employee—could temper some of those grievances.