- Amazon is reportedly partnering with FareStart, a non-profit that supports training to lift people out of homelessness and poverty. Geek Wire reports that since their arrival in the South Lake Union region of the city in 2008, Amazon has transformed the local business climate to include more opportunities for startup businesses and learning initiatives.
- The e-commerce giant has been blamed in the past for creating income inequalities, but John Schoettler, Amazon’s global real estate director advised in a blog post that Amazon has been a "long-time supporter of the life-changing work that happens at FareStart." The new restaurant training areas will be within the Amazon campus, creating more jobs for the community.
- FareStart is planning to open a large restaurant, 3 fast-casual shops, a coffee shop, classrooms and a cetering program with the donation made by Amazon. The idea is to transition low paying restaurant workers into higher paid positions such as line cooks, sous chefs, supervisors and more.
It's noble that a company like Amazon would take the time to utilize some valuable real estate to support a workforce training and development program. Amazon has been active in other apprenticeship efforts lately. The FareStart model has the resources to help take low income workers, give them advanced training in the culinary arts, and help them achieve better paying and more rewarding careers.
More companies like Amazon are starting to look around more and notice their community impact, on the economy as well as the ecology. Similar movements could be particularly useful in areas that are experiencing aging workforces with aging skills. More companies are beginning to recognize the impact of skills training programs, and are beginning to incorporate them into their recruiting processes as well.