The training could also help Amazon.com tame criticism from labor groups and some politicians, including presidential candidates, who say Amazon’s order-packing warehouses have poor working conditions. Workers at a Minnesota facility plan to strike next week during the company’s busy “Prime Day” shopping holiday, saying that they are not paid enough for the speed at which they’re expected to pack boxes. Late last year, Amazon raised the minimum wage for all its U.S. workers to at least $15 an hour.
Most of the in-house training will be free for Amazon employees, the company said. It will offer several programs, depending on skill and job level. A warehouse worker with no college degree, for example, could be trained to become an IT technician who keeps the computers and scanners in a warehouse running smoothly. More high-skilled workers, such as those at its Seattle headquarters, could take software engineering classes to switch careers at Amazon or another company.
“While many of our employees want to build their careers here, for others it might be a stepping stone to different aspirations,” said Beth Galetti, a senior vice president of human resources at Amazon. “We think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves.”