Amazon will help launch a new paid apprenticeship program so low-paid workers already in the industry can improve their skills and gain access to better jobs.

Share story

Amazon.com is giving a major boost to FareStart, donating equipment and space in South Lake Union to the nonprofit so it can open five new eateries and launch a new apprenticeship program to give those on the lower rung of the service industry better-paying skills.

The move could double the number of participants in FareStart’s job-training program over the next decade, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

In 2015, 342 people enrolled in FareStart’s programs. And since 1992, more than 8,000 people have participated

FareStart, a Seattle-based organization, operates kitchens where it teaches hospitality-industry skills to people who’ve faced barriers to employment — those with a criminal record, a history of drug addiction or homelessness. It runs a restaurant on Virginia Street in downtown Seattle, across from Amazon’s new campus, and a couple of cafes.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

The partnership with Amazon will help build on those programs and also help launch a new paid apprenticeship program so low-paid workers already in the industry can improve their skills and gain access to better jobs.

Amazon is giving the nonprofit 25,000 square feet of space in its South Lake Union campus for the new eateries, which will be open to the public. One will be a full-service restaurant, three will be fast-casual outlets, and there will be a coffee shop, too. There will also be a catering space and training classrooms.

The eateries are expected to open toward the end of the summer.