By Tamas Mondovics

AmazonRobert CarswellWith hundreds of full-time employees on board ready to pick, pack, and ship small items to customers such as books, DVDs and other consumer goods, Amazon opened its second fulfillment center in Ruskin last month.

While similar in size of its Lakeland sister warehouse that opened earlier this summer, the one million-sq.-ft. Ruskin fulfillment center was developed by Seefried Development Management, Inc. and will be handling smaller consumer goods. The landlord for both projects is USAA Real Estate Company.

Amazon was also pleased to confirm that its Ruskin center has shipped its first customer order, a Disney Frozen Doll to a customer in New York.

“The item was shipped on Wednesday, August 27, 2014,” said Nicole Guillemard in a press release discussing the center’s opening day festivities. “The first shipment was made just days following a festive welcome of hundreds of full-time employees.”

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.

The company 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.

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.

Following the opening of the Lakeland center, general managers Brian Owens and Chris Monnot presented a $10,000 donation to kidsPACK’s founder Randy Browning. KidsPACK is a non-profit organization dedicated to feeding homeless and hungry children by giving them a backpack of nutritious food each Friday to sustain them on weekends when they don’t have school meals.

During the check presentation, which was supported by several newly hired associates, Owens and Monnot, discussed Amazon’s commitment to helping communities in Polk County and Hillsborough County.

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