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Amazon has announced plans to open a fulfilment centre in Auburndale, Florida creating more than 500 new, full-time jobs starting at $15 an hour with comprehensive benefits starting on day one.

Employees at the more than one million-square-foot fulfilment centre will pick, pack and ship large customer items, such as sports equipment, patio furniture, fishing rods, pet food, kayaks, bicycles, and larger household goods. Amazon currently employs more than 13,500 full-time associates throughout the state of Florida.

“We are excited to join the Auburndale community and create more than 500 new, full-time jobs with industry-leading pay and benefits at our newest fulfilment centre in the state,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfilment. “Florida has been a source of exceptional talent for Amazon and the Sunshine state is an ideal location to provide great selection, competitive prices and super-fast shipping speeds to Floridians.”

“Amazon’s new distribution centre in Auburndale is a big win for Polk County and our entire state,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We are grateful that Amazon recognises Florida’s investment value and look forward to the economic benefits and job opportunities this new centre will provide for our residents.”

On top of Amazon’s $15 minimum wage, the company offers full-time employees comprehensive benefits including full medical, vision, and dental insurance as well as a 401(k) with 50 percent match starting on day one. The company also offers up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave and innovative benefits such as Leave Share and Ramp Back, which give new parents flexibility with their growing families.

In addition, Amazon has pledged to invest over $700 million to provide upskilling training for 100,000 U.S. employees for in demand jobs. All associates will go through hours of safety training and have access to continuing education opportunities through Amazon’s upskilling programs such as Career Choice. In this program, the company will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Since the program’s launch, more than 25,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, to name a few.

“Amazon has been an impactful employer providing good jobs and expanded tax base for Polk County citizens,” said George Lindsey, Chairman for Polk County Board of County Commissioners. “They continue to invest in our community further strengthening our economic prosperity. We are proud that this will be Amazon’s fourth facility in Polk County and we look forward to continued collaboration and success.”

“Auburndale is pleased to have Amazon join the family of businesses that call our City home,” said Tim Pospichal, Mayor of Auburndale. “We look forward to the opportunities this fulfilment center will provide the residents of our City.”

Amazon’s fulfilment network supports millions of businesses of all sizes worldwide through its Fulfilment By Amazon offering, and many of those local organisations are based in Florida. There are more than 139,000 authors, small and medium-sized businesses, and developers in Florida growing their companies and reaching new customers on Amazon products and services.

The project is being developed by ProLogis.