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Amazon job fairs to hire hundreds for Ruskin site

Published on: July 15, 2015

By KEVIN BRADY

Amazon in Ruskin.

Amazon in Ruskin.

Amazon plans to add hundreds of new jobs at the company’s Ruskin location.

The company will hold two job fairs for the openings, one later this month in Tampa and next month in South Shore.

The Tampa job fair is set for 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, July 28, at the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women, 305 S. Hyde Park Ave.

A second job fair is planned for Friday, Aug. 28, at the South Shore campus of Hillsborough Community College. Organizers have yet to set a time for the second job fair.

Both events will see workers hired for the Ruskin site as well as Amazon’s center in Lakeland.

All the positions will be full time, with a variety of schedule and shift options available, according to Nina Lindsey, an Amazon spokesperson.

“These jobs all offer competitive wages, typically 30 percent more than traditional retail jobs. It’s something that we’re proud of,” Lindsey said. “Even better, all of these jobs come with full benefits starting on day one. So all of our new employees, on the very first day they walk into our building, they have full health insurance — medical, dental and vision; they’ll be getting a 401K with a match on day one as well.”

The new jobs are fulfillment associate positions where workers pick, pack and ship customer orders.

In addition to stocks and bonuses, new employees are also eligible for the company’s Career Choice program.

“It’s an innovative benefit we offer to our associates where we’ll actually prepay upfront 95 percent of tuition for associates to go back to school and take courses that are related to fields in high demand,” Lindsey said.

“The best thing about this program,” she said, “is that these skills don’t have to be related to jobs at Amazon, so if an associate is passionate about becoming a nurse, for example, we’ll prepay for them to go back to school to get that certification.”

“Amazon approached us and [asked] would you host a job fair, and we’ve worked with them in the past with success and we said we’d be delighted to do it,” said Ann Madsen, executive director at the Centre for Women, a nonprofit group that has been helping women, and men, in the Bay area since 1977.

More than 300 job seekers have already registered for the July 28 job fair.

“A lot of the people who have signed up are making the trek from Riverview and Brandon to come here for the job fair,” said Kathleen Pravlik, the Centre’s director of advancement, marketing and development.

Potential employees will not only be interviewed at the job fair, “but they’re going to have the background check and be drug-screened,” Pravlik said. “So we’re going to be doing that. So someone could actually walk away with a job that day.”

Amazon’s announcement comes on the heels of the company’s decision earlier this year to double the capacity of its Ruskin fulfillment center.

Work has already begun on the expansion. The 1.1 million-square-foot, $200-million fulfillment center on Laurel Ridge Avenue opened in September, hiring 1,000 workers.

“The new construction will allow the fulfillment center to store millions and millions of additional items in inventory, increasing the company’s broad selection in the region and offering superfast shipping speeds for Amazon customers,” according to an Amazon press release.

The company is expanding in Ruskin less than a year after opening for a variety of reasons, Lindsey said.

“There are many different factors that we look at when we’re deciding where to put a fulfillment center,” said Lindsey, “the most important of which is being as close to our customers as possible, so we can offer super-fast shipping speeds and also a great Prime service, which we know our customers love.

“But the other important thing we look at is the local workforce, and in the Ruskin area and also throughout the Tampa area we have really found an incredible abundance of great talent,” said Lindsey. “We have more than 1,500 full-time employees right now across our facilities in the area, and we’ve been incredibly pleased. We’ve got the best associates in the world.”

“It’s very important to the local economy to support companies like Amazon that have made a significant investment here,” Madsen said. “We want to do our part to help people find jobs as a community service and to help grow the economy.”

The world’s largest Internet retailer, Amazon ships tens of thousands of packages every day from the Ruskin fulfillment center.

For more information on applying for a job, visit www.workatamazonfulfillment.com or www.thecentre.org. Prospective employees can also call 813-251-8437, ext. 272.

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