Amazon, one of the world’s largest companies, continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to hire metro Detroiters. The e-commerce giant announced last week that it is hiring 2,000 people in this area to meet growing demands of online customers. Statewide, Amazon is hiring an additional 1,000 workers. Overall, the company is seeking to fill 100,000 new full- and part-time positions across the United States and Canada.
According to Ofori Agboka, Amazon’s vice president of human resources for Global Customer Fulfillment, many of the open positions in metro Detroit are in fulfillment operations, which are an assortment of jobs aimed at filling customers’ orders. The positions have a starting hourly wage of $15.00, with full benefits for full-time employees that begin day one. The company is also offering sign- up bonuses of at least $250.
“We know these are tough times,” said Agboka. “We are proud to be in a position to provide great jobs and great opportunities at Amazon. The opportunities are endless! ”
While Amazon has not created a dedicated pathway that will give Detroiters priority access to the open positions, per se, Agboka is confident that Detroiters will rise to the task of applying for so many open positions in greater Detroit.
“We are targeting our recruitment to Detroiters through the Michigan Chronicle and local news stations,” Agboka said. “We came to Detroit because we believe in Detroit. We believe in Michigan.”
And Detroiters are answering the call from Amazon and its quest to fill jobs.
“There are a lot of Detroiters working at my Amazon facility,” said Art Tucker, II, who has worked at Amazon’s Livonia Fulfilment Center for three years. “However, when I joined Amazon in 2017, I didn’t know if I was going to stay, but I really like how things were being run so I decided to stay.”
One of the many things that Tucker liked was how individuals can advance to other positions in the company with higher wages. According to Tucker, he was hired as a picker, responsible for locating merchandise in the fulfillment center to meet the orders of customers. However, he was ultimately promoted to trainer, before moving to his current position as a data analyst.
“That’s why I stayed at Amazon because there are opportunities to advance,” Tucker explained. “Everything is merit-based here. It’s a great place to work and a great experience for anyone at any point in their lives.”
Tucker’s advancements at Amazon has not been by happenstance, but more as a part of the company’s $700 million “Upskill 2025” pledge, which is Amazon’s promise that its workers will have access to training opportunities to move into highly skilled technical and non-technical roles in the company’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers and other sectors of Amazon.
Tucker is encouraging other Detroiters to take advantage of the opportunities to work for an excellent company. Once hired, workers may be placed at any one of Amazon’s many fulfillment and sortation centers in metro Detroit, including Livonia, Romulus, Hazel Park, Sterling Heights, Shelby Charter Township and Wixom.
In this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, a safe working environment is paramount.
“We have an unwavering commitment to safety at all of our facilities,” said Agboka. “Not only are our facilities safe, but they are clean. The safety of everyone at every Amazon facility is a top priority.”
Agboka is pleased with Amazon’s level of commitment to hire Michiganders. He said since 2010 Amazon has created more than 13,500 jobs statewide and has also invested more than $2.5 billion in the state. The investments have contributed an additional $2.1 billion to Michigan’s economy and have helped create 10,000 indirect jobs on top of Amazon’s direct hires.
Agboka is not a stranger to metro Detroit and the employment talent pool that the Motor City produces. He grew up in Pontiac and Auburn Hills. After graduating from Avondale High School in Auburn Hills, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Louisiana State University. Prior to joining Amazon earlier this year, Agboka enjoyed a 24-year career with General Motors where he excelled in numerous senior executive positions in human resources, personnel and labor relations. While most of his time at GM was spent in metro Detroit, he also worked in China, Switzerland, Texas and Virginia.
“I’m so excited to come home to Michigan to be a part of Amazon’s hiring,” said Agboka who is now based at Amazon’s corporate headquarters in Seattle, Wash. “This area of Michigan has been my foundation for many years and is where I still have family and friends. Michigan is a place where Amazon can serve our customers and meet the promise that we’ve made to deliver.”
In addition to the current wave of hiring in metro Detroit, Amazon has major plans to have a greater presence in the city of Detroit. In August, Amazon unveiled plans to establish its presence in downtown Detroit through the acquisition of more than 25,000 square feet of office space, which will be home to more than 100 high-tech workers.
The company has also reached a deal with the City of Detroit to build a 3.8-million-square-foot distribution center at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. When completed in 2022, company officials project that thousands of new jobs will be available. With the addition of two Amazon facilities currently under construction in Pontiac, it is apparent that Detroit and surrounding cities have become prominent destinations on Amazon’s radar for expansion.
“We have lots of customers in Michigan, and this area has proven to be a great source of talent,” said Agboka. “To see Pontiac, Detroit and other surrounding cities in Michigan continue to grow through this renaissance with Amazon makes me proud. I’m fortunate to work for a company that’s creating jobs and opportunities, especially in these times.”
Hiring for Amazon’s new positions in metro Detroit is already underway. Candidates interested in employment opportunities can visit www.amazon.com/apply.