For years Amazon supported veterans in their transition. As the company reported massive growth during the pandemic years, Amazon also pledges for more support to veterans and their families via transition training and direct job opportunities.
Many veterans agonize about finding post-service employment. They worry about whether their skills are transferable. They’re concerned about adapting to a new culture after serving in a unique institution that’s a largely transparent, hierarchical organization with a well-defined purpose and strict rules.
In recent years, however, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, nonprofits and private companies have worked to provide a smoother transition for those leaving the military. Amazon is doing an exceptional work on this side.
The military gives most veterans a unique set of skills. When veterans implement their work ethic, teamwork, adaptability, and resilience, this will create amazing transition results in business world. Here the role of corporate companies such as Amazon is very big. Amazon already enjoying that veteran skill set in their high-end work force., has a pivotal role in support of veterans and their families. This is creating a win-win strategy both for the company and the veterans.
Amazon currently employs more than 40,000 veterans and military spouses across multiple businesses, including Operations, Sustainability, Alexa, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). All regular full-time employees receive at least $15/hr and comprehensive benefits that begin their first day on the job, and access to programs to help them train for higher-paying jobs in robotics, cloud computing, and other in-demand fields.
“We actively seek leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action and deliver results on behalf of our customers. These principles look very familiar to men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, and we find that their experience leading people is invaluable in our fast-paced work environment.” Jeff Bezos
Amazon is really big on its leadership principles. Look at them and you will see a lot of overlap with principles common in the military:
- Ownership– Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job.”
- Insist on the Highest Standards– Leaders have relentlessly high standards — many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and drive their teams to deliver high quality products, services, and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.
- Bias for Action– Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.
- Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit– Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
- Deliver Results Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.
- Earn Trust– Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.
It seems that you could see this list posted on a battalion headquarters in US Army and it wouldn’t look out of place.
Amazon military support
Let’s get into details and see some hard evidence on how does Amazon actually DO to support veterans?
- Wounded warriors- Through Adapt@Amazon, Amazon supports military veterans who gave a lot for the country — in sacrifices they and their families will carry with them forever. Partnerships with organizations focused on helping these wounded warriors gives them training and accomodations to help their journey be a successful one.
- Support to Guard and Reserves– Every part-timer worries about their job security. Not only will Amazon ensure you keep your job, they will try and reinstate you at the position you would have been at had you not been placed on active duty orders. Oh, and if the pay you receive on those active duty orders is less than your Amazon pay, they will cover the difference.
- Spouses and dependents- Amazon also realizes that while veterans have a lot to offer, so do military spouses. That’s why they have special hiring initiatives just for spouses and dependents. These are often flexible and remote jobs that someone can take with them as they bounce around from base to base.
- Skillbridge- The DoD Skillsbridge program is one of the best opportunities out there for those set to leave the military. Amazon is one of the companies you can work with through Hiring our Heroes and the DoD Skillsbridge program, which you can find out all about here. And to back all this up, Amazon pledged to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. And beyond hiring, they pledged to train 10,000 active duty service members, veterans and military spouses in cloud computing through AWS Educate memberships and offering a path to AWS certifications. That’s actual action you can see.
- Military Leaders Program- This program is meant to serve as a fast-track to higher levels of responsibility within Amazon. You’ll start as an Area Manager, a role well-fit for military leaders used to leading a team of people in a fast-paced and results-oriented role. Amazon loves military veterans for these roles because of the strong team-focused leadership the military develops and the bias for action that veterans have. The idea is that you work at this role for 6 months, then move up to an operations manager, overseeing a team of area managers, for 12–18 months. You can then expect to become a senior operations manager and then, potentially, a warehouse general manager overseeing thousands of employees.
- Amazon Web Services – You know the “cloud” that everyone talks about and seemingly runs modern society? Yea, well, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the largest cloud service out there–running businesses and governments alike. And Amazon has ways to help you get certified on AWS. LOTS of companies want people certified at working in AWS-including the government. And according to IT Career Finder, the average starting salary for a AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate (entry-level), is $117,773. They also have the Amazon Military Apprenticeship program. This not only gets you certified at working in these structures but even guarantees you a job on the backend. That’s a value that’s hard to beat.
- Student roles- If you are an MBA grad, there are also specific pathways for you to enter Amazon. But for undergraduate veterans, there are also great prospects. But even if you aren’t getting your MBA, they have internship roles for student veterans.
- Franchise opportunities- Interested in entrepreneurship? You know those blue vans that come around and deliver packages? Those are part of their network of Amazon Delivery Partners. Basically, each area is a franchise run by a business owner. Amazon actively touts on their site that they want veterans for owners. Since beginning the program in 2018, the retail giant has trained 800 entrepreneurs who have hired some 75,000 workers. A full one-third of those business owners are veterans. The investment in veterans has paid off so much for Amazon that the company wants even more veterans running Smile packages in their hometowns. It has set aside $5 million for startup costs and up to $10,000 in reimbursements for veterans looking to start their own companies.
- Program HONOR– improves the lives of veterans and their families, especially the wounded or ill and injured and their caregivers, by solving some of the community’s toughest challenges, including veteran suicide, mental wellbeing, and homelessness.
Updates from News
Amazon made its 2016 Joining Forces pledge with the goal of hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021. Inspired after far surpassing that original goal, Amazon is now using the momentum to work toward a larger recruiting and hiring pledge.
“As a Veteran myself, I’m proud of the work that Amazon is doing to improve the lives of Veterans. We deeply care about the military community, including the families who have made such great sacrifices. Our programs are built to ease transition from military to civilian life and to continue to support veterans and their families through their most difficult challenges,” John Quintas, Director of Global Military Affairs.
“Amazon is focused on recruiting and developing military talent with training programs specifically designed to help veterans transition into roles in the private sector,” said John Quintas, Amazon’s director of global military affairs. “We value the unique skills and experience that the military community brings—and our new hiring commitment will expand the impact that military members currently have on every single business across the company.”
The company is pledging to hire over 100,000 U.S. veterans and military spouses by 2024, building on its commitment to military families after far exceeding its pledge to hire 25,000 by 2021.
All Amazon jobs pay a starting wage of at least $15 an hour—more than twice the federal minimum wage—and all regular full-time employees enjoy healthcare from their first day of the job, a 401(k) plan with company match, up to 20 weeks of paid leave for birthing parents, access to free upskilling opportunities, and more.
And as a final word, as the numbers and statistics show clear commitment of Amazon to the military veterans, transitioning veterans might be clearly more hopeful about their business future.