Stepping into an Amazon facility that uses robotics is not unlike watching a highly choreographed dance between people and machines. However, keeping the machines operating safely and smoothly requires thoughtful engineering and maintenance. The responsibility of maintaining these systems falls to multiple technical professionals throughout Amazon facilities who possess a highly sought-after and valuable set of skills and experience within Amazon—experience that we know will continue to play a key role in the future of logistics and operations.
In keeping with our record of being a great place to work with competitive pay, benefits from day one, and upskilling programs for in-demand jobs, Amazon is excited to announce the Mechatronics and Robotics Apprenticeship (MRA) Program. This program, which is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, gives employees the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship that will train them on the skills and technical knowledge needed to fulfill one of these technical maintenance roles. Employees that see the program through can make more money and acquire the skills necessary for better career opportunities and higher wages—all at no cost.
“When I joined Amazon, I believed there would be opportunities to grow my career, and I’m thrilled to be part of something as innovative as robotic maintenance,” said Victor Daniel, an Amazon employee currently enrolled in the MRA program in Pennsylvania. “To have the opportunity to go back to school for free, get trained, and then learn on the job, all while earning more, has been a huge benefit.”
Daniel’s experience highlights many of the advantages of the program. All Amazon employees can apply for the first phase of the MRA program. If accepted, they’ll attend classes and receive training from one of our higher education partners. Upon successful completion of this 12-week course, employees begin a year of on-the-job learning under a technical maintenance specialist. After their year of learning on the job, they will be eligible for a full-time role as mechatronics and robotics technicians.
“As the U.S. economy continues to evolve and shift in reaction to the pandemic, the need to create a new set of skilled workers has never been higher,” said Bob O’Donnell, President of TECHnalysis Research. “Reskilling programs, like this one from Amazon, that open up new opportunities for employees at all levels of life experience to move into rapidly expanding industries, like technology, are incredibly valuable and important tools to help people find new types of gainful, productive, and future-ready forms of employment.”
In addition, top-performing employees who successfully complete the first phase of the program may be selected 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.
Employees who enroll in and fulfill the MRA program requirements can expect to see their wages increase up to nearly 40% at the end of the first phase. For apprentices who are selected for and complete the second phase, the average wage can increase by up to another 48%.
“Being able to have the chance to learn new skills and grow my career in a more specialized and higher-earning role feels like a life-changing opportunity,” said Vanessa Morales, an Amazon employee and robotics apprentice in Florida. “The increase in pay, along with the potential to continue to learn, really makes a difference—especially since my mom recently moved in with me, so I can help care for her more. This job helps me feel more confident in being able to be there for her, which is a big priority in my life.”
The academic partnerships are integral to the MRA program. We began testing the program with Vincennes University in Indiana and expanded to three other higher education institutions; Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina, Lehigh Carbon Community College in Pennsylvania, and Dallas College in Texas, with more education partners expected in the coming months.
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. 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.