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Why Amazon says it can fill 1,000 jobs in Clay; here’s what you need to know to work there logo 6/15/2021 Rick Moriarty,

Clay, N.Y. — Amazon says it expects no trouble filling 1,000 full-time jobs at its huge distribution center opening this fall near Syracuse, despite a local and national shortage of willing workers.

Here’s why — and what you need to know if you want one of those jobs.

Heather Fogarty, staffing team leader at the e-commerce giant, said the company plans to begin hiring late this summer in advance of the $350 million facility’s fall opening in Clay. The jobs will be listed here:

She said the company is confident it will find qualified workers for the jobs, mostly warehouse associate positions that involve pulling merchandise off shelves, packaging them and loading them onto trucks.

Amazon’s detailed its hiring strategy in a new interview with company officials and a local workforce-readiness specialist. Those officials also revealed a new, higher starting wage and how they will recruit workers.


Some employers say people aren’t applying because enhanced unemployment benefits pay better than work.

Maggie Walker, senior staffing manager for Amazon, said the company won’t have that problem in Clay.

When Amazon confirmed last year that it would be coming to Clay, it said the starting wage for entry-level jobs would be $15 an hour. Amazon now says it has increased that to $15.50.

“We recently had an increase to those wages to maintain our competitive edge,” said Walker, who oversees staffing for Amazon’s Upstate New York operations. “It’s something that we’ve done across Amazon and different components of our operations.”

The new starting wage is $3 more than New York’s $12.50 minimum wage Upstate.

Getting the word out

Fogarty said Amazon has been working closely with CenterState CEO, the area’s economic development and chamber of commerce organization, to get the word out about jobs at the Clay facility, which will be one of the largest warehouses in the world.

“We’ve been able to really assemble a good presence with our community partners, and we’ve been working with workforce development partners, all types of different agencies to discuss the opportunities in the opening,” she said. “We’ve made a big effort over the last four to five months to really connect and reach out.”

Aimee Durfee, director of workforce innovation at CenterState, said the organization has been working to connect Amazon with about 40 workforce development and community groups that serve underemployed people in Syracuse. The groups include CNY Works, JobsPlus!, Peace Inc., Helio Health and On Point for College.

“For us, it’s a way to get people into these good wage opportunities, into these kinds of career advancement opportunities,” Durfee said.

Bus service

Transportation is a major drawback to low-income people obtaining work because they often do not own a car. This need is especially great if the individuals are living in the city and want jobs in the suburbs.

Amazon says it is working with Centro, the bus authority, to schedule bus service to the facility, which will operate 24 hours a day.

“We’ll have a bus stop that will be right there at the site, and it will coincide with the shift times at the site,” Fogarty said. “Typically, one big obstacle that a lot of companies find is the transportation aspect, and I think we will have that solved for this site.”


In addition to increasing its wages, Amazon offers a full range of benefits to full-time U.S. employees, starting on their first day. They include:

  • Medical, prescription drug, dental and vision insurance
  • 401(k) savings plan with 50% company match on an employee’s first 4% contributed
  • Paid time-off and holiday overtime pay
  • Up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave
  • Discounts on products sold and shipped by
  • Company-paid basic life, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, as well as short-term and long-term disability insurance

Career training

Amazon’s Career Choice Program for hourly workers pre-pays up to 95% of the cost of tuition, textbooks and related fees so they can obtain degrees or certifications in high-demand fields, including medical technicians, nursing, paralegals, game design, robotics engineers and solar panel installation professionals.

The professions don’t even have to be related to Amazon’s e-commerce business.

“That’s something that’s really important to us, to continue to develop these employees’ skillsets and help them grow in and out of Amazon,” said Jenna Hilzenrath, a spokesperson for Amazon. “That goes back to our commitment to the local communities, trying to give back and strengthen the skills of the local workforce. We consider it a win if somebody is able to grow their skillset and then pursues a new career beyond Amazon afterward.”

Four days on, three days off

Most jobs at the Clay facility will be full-time. Employees will work four 10-hour shifts, then have three days off every week. Hilzenrath said many employees find the work schedule convenient because it gives them three consecutive days off each week.

“I have heard a lot of employees say they are grateful to have that set schedule that really works for their lifestyle,” she said.

What you should do

Alerts: If you are interested in a job, the first thing you should do is sign up to receive alerts to be tipped off when Amazon starts accepting applications. The center is expected to open this fall, and Amazon says it will begin accepting applications late this summer.

All of the jobs will be listed on Amazon’s jobs website, They’re not listed yet, so go to the site and register to receive an email alert when they are. (Be sure to provide your ZIP code when you sign up.) You can also text AMAZON to 77088 for mobile alerts.

Two Amazon delivery centers in DeWitt — one on Kirkville Road for small items and the other on Manlius Center Road for bulky products — are already open. If you provide a ZIP code anywhere in the Syracuse area, you’ll also receive job alerts for those two centers.

Amazon requires a high school, GED or equivalent diploma. No previous experience is necessary. Many of the jobs require some use of computers, but don’t worry if you are not a tech genius. Amazon will train you.

There are certain physical requirements. Applicants must be able to lift items up to 49 pounds by themselves or with reasonable accommodations. They must also be able to work standing up for eight to 10 hours a day.

Apply online: Amazon makes applying for jobs easy. No resume is necessary. Find a job you are interested in and click the “apply” button to begin your online application. Amazon’s Fogarty said it takes 20 to 25 minutes to fill out an application.

According to Amazon’s website, the application consists of providing some information about yourself, completing an online assessment and selecting your preferred shift.

After you finish your application, you will get an email with a link for a 30-minute virtual job preview, where you’ll learn more about the position and the final steps before your first day.

Following the virtual jobs preview, you will schedule an in-person, 20-minute interview with a staffing representative.

If Amazon approves your application, it will send you a contingent job offer. You’ll also be required to undergo a drug test, but it will not include testing for marijuana use.

On the job

After the online training, you will be given a start date and schedule. During your first days at Amazon, you will undergo more detailed, in-person training and learn safety precautions, including the proper ways to lift products.

Even after you have been working the job for a while, expect to see safety inspectors making the rounds frequently.

RELATED: How to get a job at Amazon: pay, benefits, 401(k), applications, requirements, work schedule, drug tests, alerts

Rick Moriarty covers business news and consumer issues. Got a tip, comment or story idea? Contact him anytime: Email | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148


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