Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday to begin establishing a veteran apprenticeship program intended to help thousands of veterans gain the skills they need to find careers in tech jobs.
According to Bezos, Amazon will be hiring 100,000 new employees over the next eighteen months, and he intends for at least 25,000 of those jobs to go to veterans. He also said that he hopes to train 10,000 additional veterans in cloud computing skills that can used elsewhere in the tech industry.
The apprenticeship program Bezos is spearheading is a part of the Joining Forces initiative started by former first Lady Michele Obama, as well as Doctor Jill Biden, wife of departed Vice President, Joe Biden. The program was started to help transitioning veterans find their way into the civilian workforce.
The apprenticeship process includes a sixteen-week technical training program, followed by a year-long paid internship with Amazon. While the intention is for participants to use their newly developed skills to obtain permanent positions at Amazon, those who participate in the program will have every opportunity to strike it out on their own in search of prospects with other tech companies.
“We are pleased that Amazon is joining the remarkable group of forward-looking organizations that are pursuing innovations in apprenticeship for the 21st century,” Deputy U.S. Secretary of Labor Chris Lu said in a press release.
“Partnerships like this one have reinvigorated our nation’s apprenticeship system, creating opportunity and pathways to prosperity for hundreds of thousands of Americans that will last for years to come.”
The first wave of veteran apprentices are expected to take on roles such as “cloud support associate” at Amazon Web Services, the branch of the Seattle based company that handles cloud computing. They’ll be tasked with providing technical support to customers and businesses that migrate their data and computing applications to Amazon’s cloud.
Amazon is in good company in their new veteran-friendly endeavor. More than two hundred organizations throughout the country have signed up to participate in this training initiative, from businesses like Amazon, to labor organizations, and colleges all across the nation, although Amazon and Tesla are the most prominent names associated with the effort.
Amazon has already hired more than ten thousand veterans since 2011, but Bezos’ promise to hire at least twenty-five thousand more over such a short period of time could be life changing for many veterans in America that have struggled to find full-time work since separating from service.
“We believe this is the right thing to do for our veterans and military spouses, for Amazon, and for our hundreds of millions of customers,” the CEO said in a 2016 speech leading up to this announcement. He then added that the company was “excited to keep hiring and training these incredible leaders.”
Bezos has also said that a part of the hiring push will focus on hiring the spouses of veterans as well, an often overlooked demographic that sometimes has difficulty finding work due to the frequent relocations required when married to someone serving on active duty.
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