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Amazon, seeking more skilled workers, will do the training



NEW YORK (AP) Amazon, who needs a more knowledgeable workforce, offers to pay to retrain their employees and help them switch to more technical jobs in Amazon or elsewhere.

Online shopping giant said Thursday it plans to spend $ 700 million by 2025 to retrain 100,000 workers, or one-third of its US workforce. It comes under a tight labor market, where it becomes more difficult for employers to find and retain employees. At the same time, advances in technology and robotics mean that some workers do not have the skills for new jobs.

The investment can also help Amazon.com Inc. tame criticism from workgroups and some politicians, including presidential candidates, who have pointed out poor working conditions in Amazon stores where the orders are packed and shipped. Workers at a Minnesota facility are planning to strike next week during the company's busy "Prime Day" shopping holiday, pushing Amazon for higher pay and better conditions. Later last year, Amazon increased the minimum wage for all its US workers to at least $ 1

5 an hour.

Most of the internal training will be free for Amazon employees, the company said. It will offer more programs, depending on skills and job level. For example, a non-university warehouse worker can be trained to become an IT technician who keeps the computers and scanners in a warehouse continuously. Several highly qualified employees, such as those at their headquarters in Seattle, can take software engineering classes that can help them change careers at Amazon or another company.

"While many of our employees want to build their careers here, for others it may be a step for 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."

Big dealers like Walmart and Target have increased salaries and increased training to lure and retain employees and give shoppers a better shopping experience. While customers are less likely to come face-to-face with an Amazon employee, the company says that having better-talented talent can help it find more products and make shopping more convenient for customers. For example, the Alexa assistant has been a hit for the company so customers can re-order paper towels or play a song by talking to a voice-activated speaker.

Amazon said Thursday that it expects the total US workforce to hit 300,000 this year. Worldwide, it has over 630,000 employees, making it the second largest US private employer after Walmart.

Amazon, with its own work data, said it is the fastest growing skilled position over the past five years including data mapping, computer science, security technology, and business analysis. There is also strong demand for workers who are skilled in logistics and transport.

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AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman in Newark also contributed to this story.


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