TACOMA, Wash. — It was an assembly line of people looking for jobs at Amazon on Monday.
Hundreds showed up in Tacoma and Kent to apply to work at the fulfillment centers in Kent.
The mood felt more like a shopping spree than a job interview.
“Just hoping they don’t run out of jobs,” Richard Helms said.
Helms says he used to design machines.
“I haven’t been able to find that work for 8 years,” Helms said.
So now he’s willing to work for Amazon filling boxes at one of its fulfillment centers in Kent.
“They need bodies to fill the boxes,” Melissa Swanson said.
Swanson is a chemist excited for the new opportunity. She knows she is overqualified but she’s been unemployed for months.
The starting hourly wage is $13.75 but the benefits she gets on day one are what attracted Swanson.
“It’s medical, dental, vision, 401k,” Swanson said.
Amazon spokesperson Ashley Robinson says they also give performance-based bonuses and stock awards.
Robinson also says after a year of employment, the company will pay for employees who choose to advance their education. The company says they will pay 95% of the tuition.
The perks sound good to Blake Diamond but he has mixed feelings about Amazon.
“I know the negative impacts Amazon has on the local community,” Diamond said.
He says Amazon’s growth is increasing the cost of living for many but yet he is still willing to work for the company.
“You have to pick your battle; when you have bills to pay, it's easy to pick,” Diamond said.
He’s confident he will leave with a new job; Swanson is, too.
“There weren’t any questions really; big question is the drug test,” Swanson said. “Hopefully I will be filling boxes soon.”
Amazon says applicants have to have a high school diploma or GED. They have to pass a background check as well as a drug test.
Amazon says applicants will be hired if they can pass the basic requirements.
They are looking to hire 1,000 people to work full-time and part-time at its fulfillment centers as well as the new Amazon Fresh facility.
The company started hiring Monday and the hiring process will continue until Wednesday at Green River College in Kent.
After the event closes at 7 p.m. Monday, it will pick back up
The event on Monday will last until 7 p.m., then pick back up on Tuesday, May 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Wednesday, May 24, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.