How Amazon and the Tech Industry Are Streamlining Education

Amazon is set to make its biggest delivery yet: a free retraining package to a third of its workforce. Corporate university programs like Amazon’s are creating unprecedented opportunity for individuals to advance and succeed without the burden of student debt.

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Delivery isn’t the only service for which Amazon is picking up the tab.

As part of their Upskilling 2025 campaign, the mega online retailer has pledged to spend $700 million to retrain roughly a third of its employees.
  
Programs like Amazon Technical Academy and Machine Learning University will educate those with or without a technical background in general and Amazon-specific services. Even former professors have been designated to teach some of the classes.

Tech companies alike are adopting the university model and optimizing it for their own labor demands. There are two prime ways they can benefit workers.

Financially. With $2,858 in student loan debt being accrued every second in the U.S., free technical education is foremost appealing to both existing and future members of the workforce. And Amazon may very well be the beginning of a cascade. In fact, Google already offers a free Digital Marketing course, and AT&T has their own Learning Network.

Temporally. With tech companies setting an unrelentingly rapid pace of innovation, it may be difficult for universities to keep up. Degree-seeking Americans can spend an average of five years learning coding languages that could easily be left outdated by tech companies’ renewed curricula. Working for a company like Amazon or Google can save valuable years in the classroom.

With 70% of Americans in favor of employer education programs, Amazon is not only servicing their own productivity margins, but also satiating the workforce’s appetite for on-the-job retraining. And with the competition making their respective bids for labor, new learning opportunities are almost certainly on the horizon. All in all, the corporate university model has introduced a streamlined path to education and employment, benefiting both the company and the worker.
 
About the Author
 
Kenneth Vesey is an undergraduate at Fordham University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Marketing. With a background in Irish music and competitive forensic speech, Kenny is deeply interested in creative expression as a means to empower individuals in the workplace and transform companies at scale. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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