By: Caleb Harshberger – Staff Writer, Triangle Business Journal
Scores of public officials and members of the media got a sneak peek inside Amazon’s new fulfillment center in Garner Tuesday, with Amazon officials showcasing millions of square feet soon to be home to thousands of robots and 1,500 workers.
The massive new facility is situated at 4851 Jones Sausage Road by the intersection with Interstate 40 and is set to open ahead of the 2020 holiday season.
The $200-million facility was announced in 2018 and features 2.6 million square feet across four stories. Once opened, thousands of robots will rush across acres of concrete, bringing ordered goods to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) associates who will pick out the right items for shipping.
Rob Packett, regional director of operations at Amazon for the Southeastern United States, welcomed the visitors and thanked area officials for their partnership in making the facility a reality.
“This will be the first robotics fulfillment center here in Garner,” Packett said. “Thank you for joining us in this endeavor and helping Amazon become a part of the Garner community.”
Garner Mayor Pro Tem Ken Marshburn thanked those involved in the project and emphasized the positive impact the project will have on the region.
“We have a saying here in Garner that ‘Garner is a great place to be’ and as a result of what’s happening here it’s going to be an even greater place to be,” he said. “We are truly excited to count Amazon as a part of our business community.”
Garner’s Economic Development Director Joe Stallings emphasized the importance of regional partnerships in making the project happen.
“It is impossible to have something like this without the partnerships at the state and the county and regional level to help put all this together,” Stallings said. “It’s an opportunity to give people a chance to improve their quality of life through employment.”
The Garner facility will create around 1,500 jobs, each paying at least $15 an hour, with additional opportunities for employees including educational and certification opportunities through what the company calls its “Career Choice Program.”
It’s something employees are eligible for on day one, Jeremy Stewart, general manager and site leader for Amazon’s new Charlotte hub told the Triangle Business Journal earlier this year.
Amazon front loads tuition, paying 95 percent of the cost “so that people who may not have the savings or the means to invest in themselves” can become those future leaders. He says job candidates who stick out will be the ones willing to learn.
“I came in on my first week, what I did was operate the equipment and learned all the jobs in the facility,” he says. “I think that’s really critical – that people come in and do that, then you can see where your interest lies, what you can do for a bigger impact.”
On Tuesday, Packett explained that among these programs some of the most popular degrees and certifications are in robotics, engineering and accounting, as well as in human resources and Commercial Drivers Licenses.
Over 10,000 Amazon employees are enrolled in the program, he said, and that is expected to hit 20,000 sometime next year.
Construction on the new Garner facility began last year and now crews are putting the finishing touches on the outside of the building.
Original Article Source: Triangle Business Journal