Thursday, September 20, 2018
Business

Amazon adding 2,000 new jobs in Ruskin and Lakeland

Amazon dramatically increased its footprint in Central Florida on Monday by confirming that it will hire 2,000 people at its distribution centers in Ruskin and Lakeland, nearly doubling its workforce as it continues to reshape the way people shop.

The online retailer already employs more than 2,000 people in Ruskin and Lakeland, the only distribution centers the company currently operates in Florida. Millions of packages have been sent from both centers as Amazon has prepared for expansion, which included launching a same-day shipping service in the Tampa Bay area in May.

The addition of 2,000 jobs — which the company says will pay about 30 percent more than the average retail salary — comes as the Tampa Bay area continues to struggle to its feet economically. Though unemployment rates have declined, many of the new jobs have been low-paying.

Gov. Rick Scott's office announced the new jobs in a news release Monday morning, and state and local officials quickly touted it as evidence of the Tampa Bay area's recovery.

"Amazon's decision to locate in Florida was a major win for our economy, and these additional 2,000 jobs further demonstrate the strength of Florida's workforce and business climate," said Bill Johnson, Florida secretary of commerce and president of Enterprise Florida. "These additional jobs in Ruskin and Lakeland are incredibly important for those regions as well as the state overall."

"Amazon's rapid growth at its Ruskin distribution center is another indicator of Hillsborough County's desirability as a business destination for some of the top brands in the world," said Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.

Demand for the new positions will be high.

Just last week, more than 1,400 people applied for jobs at Amazon through a job fair hosted by the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women, said executive director Ann Madsen. It was the second time in a year that the Centre had hosted a job fair with Amazon.

Amazon will host another job fair on Aug. 28 at Hillsborough Community College's South Shore Campus in the new science building from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 3 to 6 p.m. Interested applicants can apply on site.

The company finished construction on the 1.1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Ruskin in September and hired more than 1,000 workers to run it. The $200 million facility is near Interstate 75 and State Road 674 in southern Hillsborough County. The center is 10 times the size of the average Home Depot.

In May, Amazon launched a same-day delivery service for customers living in the Tampa Bay region and 13 other metro areas nationwide. The fulfillment centers in Ruskin and Lakeland make the quick delivery possible. The Ruskin facility ships smaller items such as toys, books and CDs. The Lakeland fulfillment center ships larger orders such as televisions and kayaks.

The jobs available include picking, packing and shipping customer orders. All Amazon employees are eligible for benefits such as health insurance, a 401(k) program with a 50 percent match, bonuses and stock rewards the day they start working. Amazon will also prepay 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand career fields, regardless if the field is relevant to jobs at Amazon.

The Hillsborough County Commission approved $6.4 million in property tax breaks over seven years for Amazon in 2013. The county also offered another $1.1 million to attract high-wage jobs in a partnership with the state.

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Comments
Could Trump starve a Tampa Bay transit project of federal funds?

Could Trump starve a Tampa Bay transit project of federal funds?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit line has succeeded where other Tampa Bay transit projects have failed. The project aimed at connecting downtown to the beaches has avoided anti-transit sentiment while securing money and support f...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa General nurses record the last heartbeats of dying patients, making a family memory

Tampa General nurses record the last heartbeats of dying patients, making a family memory

TAMPA — As John Reisinger waited with family at Tampa General Hospital, grief settled in like a fog. So some of the details are hazy.But he remembers the moment when three women in white lab coats approached him.The day before, his niece, Jessica Rau...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Former Tampa Bay exec and Chico’s CEO Shelley Broader discusses changing retail in St. Pete visit

Former Tampa Bay exec and Chico’s CEO Shelley Broader discusses changing retail in St. Pete visit

ST. PETERSBURG — When Shelley Broader worked in Tampa Bay, she was turning around a failing grocery store.It was the early 2000s. Amazon wasn’t a powerhouse yet, people were still on Myspace and no one was ordering groceries online. On Thursday, she ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete approves biggest budget in city history: $717 million

St. Pete approves biggest budget in city history: $717 million

ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council blessed the largest budget in city history on Thursday night, adopting a $717 million budget that starts Oct. 1.The 2019 budget is about $200 million more than the current budget. That massive increase was driven by ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marijuana use is now as common among baby boomers as it is among teens, federal data show

Marijuana use is now as common among baby boomers as it is among teens, federal data show

Talk to your grandparents about marijuana - before somebody else does.The latest release of a massive federal drug use survey shows monthly marijuana use has skyrocketed among older Americans. The past decade, in fact, has seen a sea change in the de...
Published: 09/20/18
Tampa Bay’s fastest selling used car is a Prius. Do you drive the slowest selling car?

Tampa Bay’s fastest selling used car is a Prius. Do you drive the slowest selling car?

Apparently, a lot of people in Tampa Bay are trying to get their hands on a Toyota Prius. An analysis by iSeeCars shows that the eco-friendly car is the fastest-selling used vehicle in the area, averaging 19.2 days on the market. That might not be su...
Published: 09/20/18
Cargill recalls more beef on E.coli worries from Colorado plant tied to previous recall

Cargill recalls more beef on E.coli worries from Colorado plant tied to previous recall

Cargill Inc. is recalling more than 132,600 pounds of ground beef possibly contaminated with harmful E. coli bacteria that food-safety investigators believe has already caused 17 illnesses and one death.The beef originated at a Cargill slaughterhouse...
Published: 09/20/18
Colorado-based alternative fuel company to hire 45 at new $10 million factory in Plant City

Colorado-based alternative fuel company to hire 45 at new $10 million factory in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Alternative fuel firm MLMC Florida will open a $10 million factory near the Hillsborough-Polk county line and will create 45 new jobs paying an average salary of at least $58,383 a year, officials said Thursday.Based in Parker, Colo., ML...
Published: 09/20/18
Publix has pumpkin spice everything on sale, and other deals this week in coupons (Sept. 20-26)

Publix has pumpkin spice everything on sale, and other deals this week in coupons (Sept. 20-26)

Sometimes, the coupon gods align. And, man, that’s beautiful because everyone loves so-cheap-it’s-almost-free stuff.Vegetarians rejoice: This week’s steal of a deal is for you. Publix has Quorn "chick’n" nuggets and patties on BOGO (buy one, get one)...
Published: 09/20/18
Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Home sales in August hit their highest levels in a year in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties as prices throughout the Tampa Bay area continued to rise. In Pinellas, sales of single-family homes jumped nearly 7 percent from the same month a year ago....
Published: 09/20/18