Amazon might be the retail giant that we all love to hate – while secretly renewing our Prime memberships – but there’s no arguing with the company’s track record on employment and career incentive. Already one of America’s top businesses for overall employee numbers, Amazon has announced its plans to hire an additional 100,000 employees across the US in 2017, bringing their total workforce to about 280,000.


That’s not the newsworthy part, though. Several key programs in Amazon’s HR lineup mean not only adding another 25,000 military veterans and spouses to the current 10,000 veterans the company has hired; according to a press release on the announcement, “Over 9,000 employees have now participated in Amazon’s innovative “Career Choice” program that pre-pays 95% of tuition for degrees in high-demand occupations such as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, nursing, and many other fields.”

It’s not just a matter of approving a candidate and writing a check for that tuition, either. Amazon built classrooms into many of its fulfillment centers, then established working relationships with colleges and universities in those surrounding areas. That means Amazon employees can take classes while at work, as instructors from the academic institutions come to the fulfillment center to offer the class.

One of the chief surprises in Amazon’s workforce and its plans to grow its employee base is the sheer volume of work for IT people, software engineers, developers, and other highly skilled yet glutted career fields. With its focus on actively supporting people to get degrees in these fields, it’s no wonder that Amazon has driven a lot of technology alongside the growth of its retail and book businesses. The continued push to attract tech industry talent and develop even more of that talent speaks to new innovations that Amazon may have in the pipeline, albeit innovations that are surely as hush-hush as usual.

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