The e-commerce behemoth is looking to help employees adapt to new technology and automation
According to MarketWatch, automation threatens to wipe out over 30 million US jobs over the next two decades. Regardless of the accuracy of the prediction, automation is certainly a big threat that will require an adjustment by employees and employers to avoid an economic crisis.
On July 11, Amazon announced the formation of its Upskilling 2025 programs which signifies a “$700 million commitment (that) will help pilot, launch, and scale training programs to upskill employees in (its) corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores, and transportation network, providing access to skills that will help them move into more highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.”
The core of Upskilling 2025 revolves around creating or expanding training programs to upskill workers and prepare them for jobs in areas with big expected growth, including cloud computing, machine learning, and medicine. Below are the six new or expanded opportunities.
- Machine Learning University (MLU) Amazon is launching MLU, which will be taught by 400 machine learning scientists at Amazon and will train thousands of employees through six-week modules that require no more than one day per week of participation.
- Associate2Tech A free 90-day training program that helps associates get on-the-job training that prepares them for an IT career and pass the A+ Certification exam. Participants are given paid study time during the work week.
- Amazon Technical Academy Created by software engineers at Amazon, this program trains “non-technical employees” for careers in software programming through project-based learning and real-world applications.
- AWS Training and Certification Amazon will be expanding its free digital training and classroom program for employees looking to gain skills in the growing cloud and prepare for careers at the world’s largest cloud computing platforms (including Amazon). Employees also get discounts on certification exams.
- Career Choice An existing program that offers to cover up to 95 percent of tuition and fees for employees seeking a degree in qualified areas of study, Career Choice is being expanded by building classrooms in fulfillment centers. Amazon plans to have more than 60 open before the end of 2020.
- Amazon Apprenticeship Certified by the Department of Labor, Amazon Apprenticeship offers paid classroom and on-the-job training for students looking to become software engineers, data technicians, and more. This program is being expanded.
What It Means
In response to Amazon’s announcement, JasonTyszko, the Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said, “The future of work is now and the challenge is not just adapting to new technologies, but adapting to the dynamism of the economy, which will only accelerate. Amazon is demonstrating the new role employers must play to counter that challenge, fostering a new relationship with workers where maintaining and growing their skills is an imperative for business success.”
While there is much talk about the need to prepare workers for a rapidly changing job market that will sooner or later be massively disrupted by automation, few big companies are committing to the cross-training and upskilling required to address it. Hopefully Amazon’s program is successful and can serve as a model for other big companies to follow.