RALEIGH – Amazon is expanding an apprenticeship program offering training in robotics and “mechatronics” for current and prospective employees. One of the new partners is Wake Tech Community College.

“We’re proud to offer this life-changing opportunity to employees as part of our Upskilling 2025 initiative, a $700 million commitment to provide free skills training to 100,000 Amazon employees in the U.S. by 2025 to help them transition into in-demand, higher-paying jobs,” Alicia Boler Davis wrote in a blog post.

“This initiative also includes our innovative Career Choice program that pays for up to 95% of tuition and fees for employees to get the training and certification needed to move to in-demand jobs within their communities.”

Wake Tech was announced as a partner on Thursday.

The use of robots in fulfimment centers is becoming much more common at Amazon and elsewhere. For example, earlier this week Walmart said it would consrtuct robot-manned centers in many retail stores in order to speed up fulfillment in order to better compete with Amazon for ecommerce business.

Amazon is expanding its footprint in the Triangle with a robotics-loaded distribution center in Garner that eventually will employ 1,500 people plus a current facility in Durham and a forthcoming one in Cary.

Mechatronics includes maintenance of high-tech gear growing more increasingly present in Amazon facilities.

Wake Tech is one of just a few educational institutions included in the initiative to date.

The program lasts 12 weeks. Upcon completion, workers will receive one year of on-the-job training. Then they become eligible for full-time positions in robotics and mechatronics with wages increasing nearly 40%, according to the company.

More opportunities also are avaiable, Davis added in the blog.
“[F]for the second phase, which provides additional training with one of our higher education partners, followed by approximately two years of on-the-job learning, after which participants will be eligible for even more skilled and higher-paying roles in technical maintenance.”