Jul 24, 2012 01:39 PM EDT

Amazon Launches Paid Career Training Program

Amazon.com Inc. is training its employees for future better-paying positions outside of the company.

Amazon is starting a program that pays its hourly workers $2000 annually to prepare for "in-demand" careers in fields such as aircraft mechanics, nursing, and computer-aided design.

The company said that instead of offering to reimburse employees for tuition costs, they will instead prepay for classes and books for up to four years.

Amazon is offering the training because the company hopes to keep its employees knowledgeable in other fields and not to prepare them for layoffs, as some believe the program is intended to do.

"If people have other life choices that they would like to do in their career, we want to help them do that. It's better for everyone in the long term," said David Clark, vice president of global customer fulfillment.

Amazon said it received some help from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in figuring out which jobs were in highest demand and which brought in the highest income.

Some other careers that Amazon will pay its employees to be trained in include machine tool technology and medical laboratory science.

"A long-term, engaged, positive workforce is critical to delivering the high level of customer service that people expect from us," said Clark.



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