By Tamas Mondovics

AmazonlogoAmazon’s first Florida fulfillment center was pleased to roll out the orange carpet last month to welcome new employees who will pick, pack, and ship large items to customers.

The 1 million-sq.-ft. Lakeland facility located at 1760 County Line Rd. has hired more than 400 full-time employees—with more seasonal positions yet to be filled—who will ship large items, such as canoes and televisions, to customers.

The company was also pleased to confirm the shipment of its first customer order, a CreativeWate 2-Tier Buffet Server, from its Lakeland fulfillment center.

“The item was shipped on Wednesday, August 27 to a customer in New York,” said Nicole Guillemard in a press release discussing the center’s opening day festivities.

Amazon is promoting its competitive wage structure emphasizing that the median pay inside its fulfillment centers is 30 percent higher than jobs in traditional retail stores.

In addition to competitive wages, employees are immediately eligible for comprehensive benefits that include health insurance, 401(k) with 50 percent match, bonuses, company stock awards and a network of support to ensure employees succeed.

Amazon also offers full-time employees innovative programs like 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.

While the Lakeland center is gearing up for the holiday season, the company is making headways on the construction of its second Florida fulfillment center now well underway in Ruskin. Amazon officials have not announced the construction timeline of the Ruskin center yet, but said that the project is expected to move quickly.

When open, the Ruskin fulfillment center is said to be handling smaller consumer goods such as books and some electronics.

The Ruskin project is developed by Seefried Development Management, Inc. while Johnson Development Associates, Inc. is developing the Lakeland site. The landlord for both projects is USAA Real Estate Company.

Amazon currently employs more than 88,400 people around the world. Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Seattle, Wash., Amazon has grown to be a Fortune 100 company.

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