OPERATIONS

Amazon training program hits milestone

BY By Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon’s innovative re-training program has hit an all-time high.

The online giant’s Career Choice program, which pre-pays 95% of tuitions for employees pursuing courses in in-demand fields, regardless of the relevancy to jobs at Amazon, has now helped more than 10,000 employees. And Amazon has no intention of quitting now. In fact, the company expects participation “to double by 2020, with more than 20,000 employees pursuing new careers through the program,” according to Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior VP for worldwide operations.

The online retailer has built on-site classrooms at 25 fulfillment centers, and recently expanded the program to help address national skill gaps. New areas of study include robotics, engineering and technology, computer science, photovoltaic (PV) design principles and practices learning, as well as hands-on installations to become a certified PV installer by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). More than 500 employees are currently enrolled in robotics related courses in the U.S., according to Amazon.

Last year, Amazon also began open-sourcing the Career Choice program, and sharing its best practices and lessons learned to help other companies implement similar programs. To date, hundreds of businesses have sought information on the program for their own employees, the company said.

“The Career Choice program is unique in that it helps train employees for high-demand roles that often go unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers, which means employees may actually leave Amazon to go on to be nurses or pharmacy technicians,” said Clark. “We help remove the barriers for employees by doing the homework for them to find the high-demand careers in their area. We exclusively fund those areas of study and work with local colleges to offer courses onsite at fulfillment centers in our dedicated classrooms.”

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OPERATIONS

Sears cutting jobs; key digital exec to leave

BY By Marianne Wilson

Sears Holdings is reducing headcount as part of its ongoing effort to deliver $1.25 billion in annualized cost reductions. It's also losing a key online executive.

Sears is eliminating some 400 full-time jobs at its corporate offices, in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and from its support functions. In addition, certain positions at the chain's field operations will be impacted. The eliminated jobs represent less than half a percent of the 140,000 full-time and part-time employees Sears had as of the end of January.

In other news, Stephan Zoll, president of online, Sears Holdings, is stepping down from the company, effective June 15, Sears said Tuesday in a separate 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Stephan joined Sears in June 2016, coming from eBay Germany where he had served most recently served as VP of eBay Marketplaces.

As previously announced, Sears' strategic restructuring program is designed to deliver $1.25 billion in annualized cost reductions. To date, the retailer said it has made about $1 billion in annualized cost savings to date, and remains on track to meet its target.

"We are making progress with the fundamental restructuring of our operations that we initiated in February," said Edward S. Lampert, chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings. "We remain focused on realigning our business model in an evolving and highly competitive retail environment. This requires us to optimize our store footprint and operate as a leaner and simpler organization."

Last week, Sears confirmed that it planned to close 66 additional locations on top of the 180 planned closures it had announced earlier in the year.

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Fast-food giant turns to Snapchat to attract millennial job seekers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

McDonald’s is leveraging a hot app to encourage teens to join its workforce.

The fast-food giant is embarking on an aggressive summer hiring spree that aims to employ 250,000 restaurant employees across more than 14,000 restaurants operating in the United States. Eager to get the attention of millennials — its sweet spot — McDonald’s is taking a new approach.

The company is using Snapchat to introduce what it calls a first-to-market recruiting tool. Called “snaplications,” it allows job seekers to be served an ad and begin applying for a job at McDonald’s through the Snapchat app. McDonald’s first used the application in Australia earlier this year, and the company is also utilizing platforms including Spotify and Hulu to reach potential job seekers in a new way for the brand, according to the company.

"We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to find job seekers. We thought Snaplications was a great way to allow us to meet job seekers where they are – their phones,” said Jez Langhorn, senior director in human resources, McDonald’s USA.

When the solution launches on June 13, Snapchat users can view 10-second video ads of real McDonald's employees talking about the benefits of working at the chain. Users can then ‘swipe up’ to instantly visit the McDonald’s career webpage in Snapchat, explore opportunities, and apply to their local restaurants.

The solution specifically targets more than two third of teenagers that are estimated to be unemployed between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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