Machine Learning Bootcamp

Training Our Employees for a Digital Future

Kelly Mason, Unzipped Staff
Levi Strauss & Co.
May 17, 2021

Over the last year, Levi Strauss & Co. has fast-tracked efforts to transform our business and brands through the use of digital technology, data and artificial intelligence (AI).

We established the Digital Enterprise Office to unite technology leaders across the company and drive our digital agenda forward. And we have scaled the use of digital tools and machine learning across the company, using AI to optimize ecommerce promotions, develop a better consumer experience on, rethink our design process and more.

But we know that in order to thrive in a digital-first future, we need to invest not only in technology, but in our people. To accomplish this, we are rolling out a company-wide digital upskilling initiative. While we continue hiring externally to grow and develop our AI workforce, this initiative will ensure we are also training and upskilling the talented people who already work here.

A first of its kind for the industry, our digital upskilling initiative features an in-house curriculum that includes AI literacy courses for merchandise planners, hands-on coding education and other coursework that enables employees to develop new skill sets in machine learning, design thinking and product management. And our all-new, in-house Machine Learning Bootcamp will be a cornerstone of this work.

Through this industry-first program, we are investing in people who are lifelong learners, versed in our business and curious, creative, and consumer-obsessed problem solvers. — Dr. Katia Walsh, SVP and chief strategy and Artificial Intelligence officer

Launching the Machine Learning Bootcamp

Today, we are announcing the inaugural cohort of our Machine Learning Bootcamp, an immersive training in coding, machine learning and agile ways of working, uniquely designed for LS&Co. employees. Participants will master an in-demand skill set and will focus on learning full-time for two months, all paid for and encouraged by leadership.

“The apparel industry is ripe for technology disruption,” said Dr. Katia Walsh, senior vice president and chief strategy and Artificial Intelligence officer at LS&Co. “With this talent now also skilled in machine learning, we are poised for continuous Digital, Data, and AI innovation and company-wide transformation.”

With more than 350 employee applications from around the world, the company selected roughly 40 employees to embark on this eight-week, full-time program. The first cohort is a diverse group of employees — 63% female with a median tenure of 2.5 years representing 14 locations across corporate offices, retail stores, distribution and data centers.

Upon graduation, some of the participants will join our growing Strategy and AI team. Others will return to their current jobs with their new skills, augmenting their current roles and bringing valuable new perspectives and ideas to different teams across our business.

“I’ve been in the information technology space for almost 20 years now, but still haven’t touched data science. I’ve taught myself a few things here and there like learning different programming languages, but I’m thrilled to go deep in the world of data science,” said Dani Jefferson, Computer Operator at Levi Strauss & Co. and participant in the Machine Learning Bootcamp. “After this bootcamp, I’m excited to help figure out ways to solve some of our bigger business obstacles and create inventions that will help everyone else.”

This is the first of many digital upskilling opportunities that will be available to employees. Given the high interest in and demand for AI skills, we are already planning a second cohort later this year. We can’t wait to see how this initiative will help power the future of our business and what our first bootcamp graduates do once they complete the program this month.

Interested in a career in data science at Levi Strauss & Co.? Find more information as well as job openings here.