Amazon to expand Chicago tech hub, hire 400 new employees

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Amazon hosted a nationwide job fair Tuesday to hire more than 30,000 people, including 400 new jobs in Chicago.

The company said there is scope for everyone as the Jeff Bezos-led company invests $700 million in skills training to help current and future employees.

The Chicago "Amazon Career Day" opened at 11:30 a.m. at Vertiport Chicago on the Near West Side.

Business Analyst Shashank Sykam said he stood in line for an hour outside before getting inside to present himself.

"They are giving an opportunity for us to express ourselves and also know about ourselves, so yes this is absolutely a great opportunity," Sykam said, before entering.

Just ahead of Sykam, was prospective employee Erinn Haynes who had a smile plastered on her face.

"I am very friendly, very outgoing and personable, and very detail oriented," Haynes said. Amazon is on her career radar because, "it is a good company, it has high sales and it is definitely where it needs to be within the market."

After entering the heliport, prospects had the opportunity to chat with Amazon employees. Amazon spokesperson Allison Leader said they were there to facilitate an information exchange, and help people understand how they might be able to fit in at Amazon.

"We know that if you don't know someone who works there it might seem a little daunting... here are a lot of different (jobs) so we want to meet candidates where they are and talk to them about what we have to offer," Leader said from the packed exhibition floor.

PHOTOS: Take a look inside "Amazon Career Day"


The online retailer announced Monday it is doubling the headcount at its Chicago Tech Hub, adding 400 new jobs. The company is looking to grow its footprint with positions in fulfillment, retail stores, and across the myriad of engineering and corporate positions such a global enterprise offers -- the pay industry leading it claims, with health benefits from day one.

"You want people to know that no matter what your education is, what your skill sets are, there is something at Amazon for you," Leader said.

The next step is for job fair participants is to go back online and apply for a job in an area of interest.

Business Administrator Todd Backes is out of work now after 20 years in corporate America. He wants a fresh start with Amazon. He thinks there's a fit with his experience in project management, software support and helpdesk leadership.

"I am more encouraged now," Backes said, as he left the job fair. It's a mindset shared by 22-year-old Madhukanth Kodali, a recent engineering graduation from the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

Backes is staying with his aunt in Schaumburg looking to make his American dream come true.

Amazon "has grown huge," Backes said, with glint in his eye. "It's a multinational company, a lot of countries have Amazon, and so I would like to join them -- I would like to be a part of it too."

The hiring events include hiring for Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Nashville, Seattle, and Arlington, Virginia. For more information about Amazon jobs in Chicago, click here.
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