Amazon is investing $700 million to upskill 100,000 employees in the United States by 2025. Its current workforce is estimated to top 300,000 employees in the U.S. this year.
According to the company, the investment will fund both new programs as well as beef up existing training. The menu of training options was based on a review of the company’s jobs and analysis of hiring data from its U.S. workforce.
Amazon found that over the past five years, its fastest-growing highly skilled jobs include data mapping specialist, data scientist, solutions architect, security engineer, and business analyst. In its all-important customer fulfillment division, highly skilled roles like logistics coordinator, process improvement manager, and transportation specialist also experienced a spike in demand.
To get employees up to speed, Amazon will offer a range of training including:
- Amazon Technical Academy: a training and job placement program that equips nontechnical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into, and thrive in, software engineering careers.
- Associate2Tech: a program that provides fulfillment center associates the opportunity to move into technical roles, regardless of their previous IT experience, within Amazon’s vast operations network.
- Machine Learning University (MLU): an initiative that helps Amazonians with a background in technology and coding gain skills in Machine Learning.
- Career Choice: Amazon’s prepaid tuition program for fulfillment center associates looking to move into high-demand occupations.
- Amazon Apprenticeship: a Department of Labor certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon.
- AWS Training and Certification: to hone cloud skills.
The surge in technical jobs isn’t surprising–it’s also on par with LinkedIn’s fastest-growing jobs for 2019–so it makes sense to proactively address a potential skills gap. However, Amazon may be missing an opportunity to round out their employees’ training. LinkedIn’s chief economist Guy Berger found that the biggest skills gap isn’t in tech. “Soft skills–like oral communication, leadership, and time management–make up nearly half the list of skills with the largest skills gaps,” he told Fast Company in a previous report.
UPDATE: Amazon points out to Fast Company that it already offers all hourly employees Career Skills, a free, on-site training and development program with classes that touch on some soft skills such as resume building, interviewing, effective speaking, and time management. The program has had over 25,000 participants.