Amazon hiring 100 more at Bradley County facility

Amazon hiring 100 more at Bradley County facility

June 13th, 2014 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Juanita Taylor stocks the shelves at the Amazon Fulfillment Services facility in northern Bradley County near Charleston, Tenn.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Citing higher customer demand, Amazon is adding more than 100 full-time jobs at its Charleston, Tenn., distribution center.

The hourly workers will pick, pack and ship orders at the north Bradley County facility, which typically handles larger size goods than Amazon's Chattanooga fulfillment center, according to the online retailing giant.

Amazon has invested in excess of $139 million in Southeast Tennessee and hired more than 2,600 full-time workers since coming to the area in 2011, including more than 2,000 at its Chattanooga operation and more than 600 in Charleston, the company's latest figures show.

The 1.2 million-square-foot Charleston facility opened in September 2011 when it shipped its first order, a Bumbo baby seat, to a customer in South Carolina.

Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis said the Amazon center has helped push down the jobless rate in the Cleveland, Tenn., area. Bradley's unemployment rate in April fell to 5.1 percent, down from 7.5 percent a year ago, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

"We are grateful for their continued investment," Davis said.

Fulfillment employees start at $11 per hour, the company's website said. Workers filling the Charleston jobs will have benefits starting "on day one" at the distribution center, including health insurance, 401(k) and company stock awards, according to Amazon.

Amazon also offers full-time employees programs such as Career Choice, where the company will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.

Gary Farlow, who heads the Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce, said Amazon employment has surpassed projections in Charleston, even though the company's business is cyclical. Amazon originally pledged to hire 250 people in Charleston.

Amazon's centers especially ramp up around Christmas when the business taps into the holiday shopping season and brings on a lot of temporary employees. Last winter, the company is estimated to have had more than 5,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees in Chattanooga.

"We've been pretty pleased," Farlow said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.