With 1,400 Positions To Fill, Amazon Draws Job Seekers To Etna Warehouse

Aug 2, 2017

Amazon launched a nationwide push on Wednesday to hire 50,000 warehouse workers, with 1,400 of those positions available for workers in Central Ohio. 

The Amazon warehouse in Etna, Ohio, is nearly 1 million square feet. It's one of two such locations in the state and already employees 3,000 people.

Many applicants at Wednesdays job fair said the promise of higher wages, estimated around $12-15 an hour, are what drew them in.

Amazon is offering something rarely seen in positions that require only a high school education or the equivalent: competitive benefits. The company touts healthcare that starts on the very first day, plus retirement and company stock.

Mothers can receive up to 22 weeks maternity leave, and Amazon says it will pay up to $12,000 of school tuition should an employee seek high education.

Naaraha and Kaylen Alli both hope to find better jobs at Amazon. The young parents say they currently work at another warehouse, but that company has started replacing full-time staffers like themselves for contracted day laborers.

"That makes your chances slim of actually going there and getting a position for the day," Alli says. "Most of the time we get sent home."

A worker at Amazon's location in Etna, Ohio, sorts products for shipment.
Credit Esther Honig

Ashley Hatfield and Shawntel Knight heard about the job fair that morning on the radio. Both women are servers and working their way through college.

"We want more hours and more money so this should work out fine," said Hatfield, who says she hopes to work early mornings before class.

Spouses Naaraha, 22, and Kaylen Alli, 26, say they hope to find better jobs at Amazon.
Credit Esther Honig

Amazon would not state their average hourly wages, only that it's typically 30 percent higher than the average retail position.