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It will take the new $100 million Amazon project a lot more than two days to deliver change to west Montgomery. But Mayor Steven Reed said more is on the way for the west side, and that Amazon’s announcement is just one piece of a much larger plan to expand opportunity and commercial development there.
And they’ll all need workers.
Amazon announced earlier this month that it will open an inbound cross dock facility off Interstate 65 near Hyundai Boulevard. It’ll be the only facility of its kind in the state and employ 500 people. Amazon jobs typically start at about $15 an hour, not including other perks or bonuses.
Reed said last week that the city also has launched a study of the I-65 corridor, which covers a main, underdeveloped artery stretching through west Montgomery. Drivers traveling that interstate route would pass developments from Amazon and Hyundai to the $50 million whitewater rafting park that’s under construction near downtown.
But the plans cover more ground.
“There are some other conversations that we’re having along (US) 80 and the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights trail,” Reed said. “There’s a lot of potential there on through Mobile Highway all the way to Oak Street, where our community development department has been actively working to find those developers and find those partners for affordable housing. We want to help invest and restore the civil rights trail.”
He said the city has also been in touch with private developers about more retail for the area around I-65, including near the intersection of Fairview Avenue and West South Boulevard as well as “a potential new intersection.”
In the meantime, Reed said the city has to prepare for all of the new opportunities by getting everyone into the workforce and ready to take advantage of what’s on the horizon.
“We want our community to be aware that there are multiple ways to be successful. There are multiple ways to be productive citizens in this community,” he said. “There are a lot of different jobs, a lot of different careers that you can have that right now are going understaffed, if you will.
“… There are a number of good opportunities, and they don’t care about your background. All they care about is your integrity, your ethics and your willingness to work hard. If you’ve got those three things, then they’re looking for you.”
Jobs at the Amazon center won’t require special training but still may be hard to fill, said Marc Wulfraat, president of global logistics consulting company MWPVL International. Wulfraat said there's an overall shortage of resources for warehouse work, and companies are competing for those workers "more intensely than I have ever seen in the last 35 years."
The center isn’t hiring yet, but you can sign up to get updates on those jobs through www.hiring.amazon.com.
Amazon plans to hire and train workers directly, but many other manufacturing jobs here – including those at the Hyundai plant – are filled by state job training agency AIDT. You can see some of those opportunities at jobs.aidt.edu.
“We want to make sure that we put Montgomery in the best position possible so that we can have more announcements like this, not just one every now and then. I hope that this community will take on the challenge and I believe, knowing this community, that we’ll step up to that charge,” Reed said.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brad Harper at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: After Amazon: Mayor says more coming to west Montgomery