Amazon investing $700M to 'upskill' 100,000 workers

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Online retail giant Amazon has said it will invest $700 million to train new workers for jobs like data mapping scientists, solutions architect, security engineer and business analyst -- a plan to "upskill" 100,000 employees.

Amazon announced the initiative Thursday.

"We think it's important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves," senior vice president of human resources Beth Galetti said. "With this pledge, we're committing to support 100,000 Amazonians in getting the skills to make the next step in their careers."

Amazon said the commitment covers one-third of its U.S. workforce.

Through the "Upskilling 2025" pledge, Amazon aims to encourage workers to ascend to in-demand careers. The plan includes launching the Amazon Technical Academy, designed to give non-technical employees skills to transition to engineering jobs. Amazon will also offer other specialized training.

"Amazon is ... fostering a new relationship with workers where maintaining and growing their skills is an imperative for business success," said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Vice President Jason Tyszko.

"There is debate raging between labor conditions of the future," said analyst Simeon Siegal at Nomura/Instinet Equity Research. "Helping to upskill workers, if successful, could help the company's bottom line as well."

Amazon has also pledged to pay employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour, labor expert Harley Shaiken of the University of California, Berkeley, told ABC News.

"That said, there have been real concerns about workplace and health and safety issues in fulfillment centers."

Amazon's announcement came just days before its annual "Prime Days," which will be marked early next week by employee protests to call attention to certain workplace conditions.

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