Amazon today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SG Enable, to partner with Singapore’s focal agency for disability and inclusion, to hire persons with disabilities and help create equal opportunities for them at Amazon’s Operations facilities in Singapore. With this MoU, Amazon will triple the number of associates with disabilities in the next three years at its Operations facilities. This will enable Amazon to hire 15 per cent of its associates from diverse cohorts of persons with disabilities over the next three years to build an inclusive workplace.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Guest-of-Honour Ms. Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State for Manpower, and Mr Eric Chua, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development. The MoU was signed by Mr. Steve Walter, Vice President, People Experience & Technology, APAC, MENA, LATAM and Ms. Ku Geok Boon, Chief Executive Officer of SG Enable.
Through this partnership, Amazon and SG Enable aim to provide necessary training to empower persons with disabilities to advance their careers in the logistics industry. Amazon will co-develop logistics training courses with SG Enable’s Enabling Academy to train persons with disabilities and skill them to be ready for jobs in the logistics industry. Amazon will also provide mentorship and internship opportunities for students with disabilities through SG Enable’s RISE Mentorship and Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) Internship programmes. Amazon teams will also undergo training with SG Enable’s support to develop relevant skills to work alongside and support associates with disabilities.
At Amazon, we believe in promoting a culture that encourages development and gives everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential. When trying to acquire technical skills and find relevant work, many persons with disabilities face barriers to access. Through this partnership, we want to empower persons with disabilities with relevant on-the-job skills training and development to support them as they build careers, and enable them with an inclusive and positive environment to grow and learn.
“Our partnership with Amazon is significant as it ramps up their employment of associates with disabilities in their Operations businesses threefold, and expands into areas such as increasing the accessibility of their shopping platform and providing support for persons with disabilities who develop quality merchandise. Formalising our partnership with Amazon today marks an important milestone for us as we celebrate a decade of enabling persons with disabilities and look forward to more impactful partnerships ahead,” said Ms Ku Geok Boon, Chief Executive Officer of SG Enable, which marks its 10th anniversary this year.
Since July 2022, Amazon has hired and onboarded associates with autism, intellectual disabilities, and those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) through SG Enable’s Job Placement and Job Support programme for various roles across its fulfilment network. Specialised training programmes were developed through collaboration with SG Enable. The teams engaged with job coaches and occupational therapists from SG Enable’s partner network to conduct site visits to improve workplace accessibility and accommodations such as installing safety mirrors at strategic areas, and emergency buzzers with vibrations and lights for associates who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Special gloves and scanners that vibrate to indicate that an item has been successfully scanned during picking and packing of items are also provided for Deaf or Hard of Hearing associates. To encourage associates with disabilities to work independently, Amazon and SG Enable will work together to promote the adoption of assistive technologies and e-accessibility tools for associates with disabilities at Amazon’s Operations sites.
One of the associates who has a disability and works at an Amazon Fulfilment centre is Steven Chong, 48. Mr Chong, who has a Master of Science in Transport Systems and Management, is Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He takes more time to learn concepts and prefers written instructions and slower conversations, but has been able to work as a picker since he joined Amazon in September 2022. He says, “Working at Amazon provided me with the opportunity to learn about operations and logistics. Working here has also taught me how to pick items for customers on time. The work has helped me to gain some income as I had a difficult time searching for a suitable job.”
At Amazon, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are central to all business decisions. Amazon has enhanced its efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive culture, allowing its employees to have a feeling of belonging, value, and opportunity as it strives to be the Earth's Best Employer. Amazon continues to promote diversity, inclusivity, and equity in the workplace in Singapore through programmes that attempt to level the playing field for all kinds of employees.