Investment includes support of Dallas Thrives, programs focused on creating sustainable workforce, equitable and inclusive growth, and improved quality of life
The Dallas Regional Chamber announced today it has received a $260,000 contribution from Amazon as the company expands its community engagement across North Texas. The partnership will help fund the DRC’s strategic priorities for sustainable economic growth, education and workforce development, and building a more inclusive community.
“Amazon has a strong track record of investing in the communities where it operates and where its employees live and do business,” said Dale Petroskey, President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “The DRC is proud to have Amazon’s support as we continue to work to bring opportunity and expand access in education and workforce to all corners of our region.”
“We are committed to not only being a good employer in North Texas, but also a good neighbor,” said Vickie Yakunin, Amazon’s Dallas Senior Manager for External Affairs. “The Dallas Regional Chamber is the leading organization in our community spurring economic development. They are also deeply invested in strengthening our region to ensure businesses of all sizes and diverse voices are represented, making our partnership a natural fit.”
More than half of the Amazon’s investment will specifically focus on growing wages and talent in the region through the Dallas Thrives initiative, which seeks to increase the number of young adults earning a living wage. Amazon will also serve as presenting sponsor for the DRC’s HackDFW event, a weekend-long innovation marathon connecting 500 engineering and tech professionals, students, and enthusiasts to create new software and hardware products.
A collaboration with the DRC and the Commit Partnership, Dallas Thrives is a community initiative that aims to double living wage attainment in a single generation. Launched in November 2020, the initiative advances five core strategies to support critical regional education-workforce collaborations.
“We support initiatives that create equitable opportunities for young adults to grow and thrive,” Yakunin said. “We’ve been pleased to see other major companies raise their starting wages and encourage others to follow suit. When we work together to close gaps, everyone in our community benefits.”
In October 2018, Amazon announced it would raise its minimum hiring wage to $15 for all U.S. full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees—impacting more than 250,000 employees across the company today. Amazon said the starting wage raise has created a meaningful impact on the lives of their employees.
Earlier this month, the company announced that it is providing an additional 125,000 local employment opportunities throughout the U.S., on top of the 40,000 corporate and technology jobs announced earlier this month. The roles in fulfillment and transportation offer an average starting wage of more than $18 per hour—and up to $22.50 per hour in some locations. Of those new jobs, 17,000 are expected to be in Texas. In addition to industry leading wages, the company also provides full-time employees with comprehensive benefits from day one, worth an additional $3.50 per hour. They include health, vision, and dental insurance, 401(k) with 50% company match, up to 20 weeks paid parental leave, and Amazon’s Career Choice program, in which the company will pay full college tuition for its front-line employees as part of a $1.2 billion investment to expand education and skills training for its U.S. workforce.
Amazon’s investment in the Dallas workforce extends into education and fostering the next generation of tech talent.
The company works with students regularly through opportunities like the Amazon Future Engineer program, which is a part of the Dallas Independent School District curriculum. Earlier this year, Amazon had more than 10,000 Dallas ISD students participate in a virtual computer science themed fulfillment center tour.
“As we grow, we want to continue to ensure there are efforts to support the future of our workforce here in Dallas,” Yakunin said. “We have a tech hub here and we work closely with our colleagues at AWS to provide opportunities for students to explore careers in technology.”
Amazon is presenting sponsor of HackDFW on October 1-3, 2021, a hackathon that will allow the brightest tech talent from across the region to come together to showcase their problem-solving abilities for major companies in the Dallas Region.
“By supporting an event like the HackDFW, we are increasing access to computer science education and fostering new opportunities for aspiring engineers,” Yakunin said.
Yakunin said Amazon supports the DRC’s efforts to be the preeminent voice of the business community and create a better quality of life for all who call the Dallas Region home.
“Through our support of Dallas Thrives, HackDFW, and other DRC events and initiatives, we can play a role in ensuring our community continues to innovate, strengthen the local talent pipeline to ensure both employers and employees alike are benefiting, create more growth, and ensure that this growth is shared equally,” Yakunin said.
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