Usually, when we think of automation and technological advancement, we imagine our lives becoming easier and less stressful. However, with 25% of jobs in the U.S. threatened by automation, many workers feel quite the opposite. To them, their very way of life and means of providing for their families is in jeopardy. What can be done about the skills gap to ensure they have a job in the future?
Fortunately, there is hope for workers whose jobs may be threatened by automation. In fact, many executives have stressed the importance of innovation and the proper utilization of automation for employee benefit. They argue that people and technology not only can coexist peacefully, but they can also help each other reach their full potential.
Some might assume that Amazon would be one of the first businesses to lay off its workers in favor of automation and the benefits it would entail. After all, with it being a trillion-dollar company and many of its employees unhappy with working conditions, it’s logical to think it might cut corners and costs.
However, the company has at least partially dispelled this assumption by announcing its Upskilling 2025 employee retraining programs. It claims it will be committing $700 million to “help pilot, launch and scale training programs to upskill employees” and “help them move into more highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.”
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the corporation’s ever-changing cloud software, has created many job opportunities and comprehensive online training for employees. Employees can take three different training paths: AWS Business Professional, AWS Technical Professional or AWS Professional Services.
Fortunately, Amazon’s choice to educate its workers online or through its own classrooms will make the entire process affordable. In fact, it declares that employees “have access to free classroom and digital training to build cloud knowledge (and) discounted AWS Certification exams.”
The idea of participating in training outside of working hours might seem daunting to many. However, the affordability and easy access to online training will help make it a possibility.
Amazon’s AWS training paths are just the beginning. It has also introduced Machine Learning University (MLU) and describes it as “an initiative that helps Amazonians with a background in technology and coding gain skills in machine learning.”
With over 400 Amazon Machine Learning scientists helping teach MLU, employees will have access to the knowledge and experiences they need to be successful in the field.
In addition, the corporation will launch Amazon Technical Academy, which it considers “a training and job placement program that equips nontechnical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into, and thrive in, software engineering careers.”
One of the most interesting takeaways from Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 announcements is that the company is dedicated to helping its employees “move into more highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon,” which begs a major question. Has Amazon accepted that some of its workers will take their newly attained knowledge and experience to other companies? It would appear so.
Nevertheless, this could also lead to positive impacts on the tech industry. Many people who don’t have the time or money to receive a formal education on cloud software or machine learning could work for Amazon for a much more reasonable avenue to their dream job. This would help satisfy the ever-growing demand for workers in technology fields.
From a less one-dimensional view, it is worth pondering whether Amazon is partially using Upskilling 2025 as an opportunity to recruit more workers and improve employee satisfaction levels. If this is the case, it will place high expectations on Amazon’s competitors and many tech companies.
In other words, people working for Amazon’s competitors will likely start to expect similar digital training and experiences — and even leave if their employers fail to innovate in this way. Potential employees might lose interest in these companies and apply to Amazon, as there may be more opportunities for growth there.
If Amazon follows through on all its innovative plans to help employees, automation could start to look much more like an opportunity to gain experience and eliminate the skill gap rather than a job killer. If the company’s efforts result in higher employee satisfaction, we may very well see other tech companies follow suit and generate remarkable growth in the industry.
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