Pledge to America’s Workers: Spotlight on Amazon

Photo credit: Amazon

Following the announcement of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 5th annual National Apprenticeship Week running November 11-17, USCIB is showcasing the positive impact apprenticeship programs have in addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Each week, USCIB is featuring case studies of members that are making an impact in re-skilling and re-training the workforce as part of the White House Pledge to America’s Workers.

USCIB member Amazon has created a 2025 pledge to upskill 100,000 of its employees across the United States. To accomplish this, Amazon has dedicated over $700 million to provide people across its corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores and transportation network with access to training programs that will help employees move into more highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.

Amazon has both created and expanded a broad range of training programs based on the insights provided to them by their workforce, including:

The Amazon Technical Academy which offers tuition-free programs and job placement for employees who want to move into the software engineering field. The Amazon Technical Academy combines instructor-led, project-based learning with real-world application, and graduates of the program master the most widely used software engineering practices and tools required to thrive as a software engineer at Amazon. For more information on this program click more here.

Amazon’s Associate2Tech program, is a fully-paid 90-day program that provides fulfillment center associates with the opportunity to move into technical roles, regardless of their previous IT experience. Associate2Tech is designed to place associates in on-the-job training for IT support technician roles and pays for their widely recognized A+ Certification test. No existing degree is needed, and participants receive paid study time during their work week. To learn more about this initiative click here.

The Machine Learning University (MLU) is an initiative helping Amazon employees with backgrounds in technology and coding gain skills in Machine Learning. Machine learning plays an increasingly important role in customer innovation. MLU helps employees learn core skills to propel their career growth – skills that are often taught only in higher education. MLU is divided into six-week modules and the program requires only half to one full day of participation a week. MLU is taught by more than 400 passionate Amazon Machine Learning scientists. Originally launched as a small cohort, the program is on course to train thousands of employees.

In another example, Amazon’s Growing Career Choice program is a pre-paid tuition program for fulfillment center associates looking to move into high-demand occupations. Specifically, Amazon has agreed to pay up to 95% of tuition and fees towards a certificate or diploma in qualified fields of study. Since launching Career Choice in 2012, over 25,000 Amazon employees have received training for high-demand occupations that include aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies and nursing. The company is investing in expanding the program by building additional classrooms in its fulfillment centers globally and expects to have over sixty on-site classrooms by the end of 2020.

Another exciting program is Amazon Apprenticeship, which is a Department of Labor certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon. This opportunity is a combination of immersive learning and on-the-job training. The program has already created paths to technical jobs for hundreds of candidates who are working to break into careers that include cloud support associates, data technicians and software development engineering.

Finally, AWS Training and Certification works on closing the cloud skills gap in the tech industry. Amazon employees have access to free classroom and digital training to build their cloud computing knowledge, as well as discounted AWS Certification exams to validate their learned cloud expertise. Cultivating these in-demand skills opens opportunities both within Amazon and in other organizations around the world as demand for cloud talent continues to grow.

See here for other spotlights:

IBM

Salesforce

Walmart

Staff Contact:   Gabriella Rigg Herzog

VP, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
Tel: 212.703.5056

Gabriella Rigg Herzog leads USCIB policy and programs on corporate responsibility, international labor standards and corporate governance. She manages USCIB engagement with its affiliated organizations, U.S. government agencies, and United Nations agencies on international corporate responsibility principles, codes of conduct and multi-stakeholder initiatives, as well as international and transnational regulatory activities on labor and employment policies, sustainable development and corporate governance.
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