Amazon commits $700 million to giant retraining scheme for 100,000 US workers

amazon workerNoah Berger/Reuters

  • Amazon is spending more than $700 million on retraining a third of its US workforce.
  • The retail giant said it will help employees in non-technical roles, such as warehouse associates, to move into more technical IT roles.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the investment would be among the biggest corporate retraining initiatives in America. It works out at $7,000 per worker.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Amazon is investing more than $700 million into retraining 100,000 of its US employees, or a third of its workforce in the country.

The retail giant announced on Thursday that it will be launching and expanding training programs to help staff progress their career and move into more skilled rolls. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The training is voluntary for employees and most of the programs will be free, while workers will also be given paid time off to study during their work week.

The training programs will aim to help non-technical employees move into software engineering roles, or give warehouse workers the skills to take on IT posts.

"While many of our employees want to build their careers here, for others it might be a stepping stone to different aspirations. We think it's important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves," said Beth Galetti, senior vice president of HR at Amazon.

According to The Journal, the $700 million investment would be among the biggest corporate retraining initiatives in America. It works out at $7,000 per worker.

Read more: Amazon workers are planning a strike for one of its busiest shopping days of the year

In recent years, Amazon has come under scrutiny for its treatment of workers. Warehouse employees and delivery drivers report working in intense conditions - peeing in bottles and driving dangerously - to meet their targets.

This had led to strikes and protests against the company. Most recently, a group of Amazon workers in Minnesota announced plans to strike during its upcoming Prime day.

Workers jobs are likely to come under more pressure as the company continues to invest in robotics to speed up its supply chain. According to a recent report by TechCrunch, Amazon now has more than 100,000 robots in operation.

An Amazon robotics executive recently said the company is at least 10 years away from fully automating the picking and packing process in its warehouses, however.

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