Online retail giant Amazon announced Tuesday it plans to hire another 2,200 employees in the Colorado Springs area for its newly opened fulfillment center, sorting center and two new delivery stations.

The hiring wave is part of Amazon's statewide expansion, which also includes hiring 2,700 in Denver area for several new delivery stations and other facilities including two other fulfillment centers, a sorting center, air and technology hubs, Whole Foods Market stores and several other retail locations. The jobs are listed at www.amazon.com/apply and offer starting wages from  $15 to $22.62 an hour, with a statewide average of $18 an hour. The firm said signing bonuses of up to $1,000 also are available at some locations.

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"We are proud to offer opportunities for people from a range of backgrounds, from furloughed workers to former military personnel," said Dave Clark, Amazon's worldwide consumer CEO, in a news release from the Seattle-based company. "Whether you're looking for a short-term job to make money for the holidays or a long-term career, you're welcome here, and we look forward to having you on our team."

Amazon already employs more than 2,500 people in the Colorado Springs area and more than 16,000 statewide in full- and part-time jobs. Many of the Colorado Springs employees were hired in the past three months to staff the company's 3.7 million-square-foot fulfillment center, which opened in July in the Colorado Springs Airport's Peak Innovation Park.

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With the latest hiring, Amazon will be among the area's largest employers. The company has grown rapidly in Colorado Springs since opening a temporary delivery station in a tent near the airport's passenger terminal in late 2018, replacing it with a permanent delivery station in 2019 . In Colorado Springs, the firm has since built the fulfillment center and a 300,000-square-foot sorting center that opened last week, all in Peak Innovation Park.

The five-story, highly automated fulfillment center handles more than 20 million separate items up to 2 feet long, wide or high and weighing 50 pounds or less, ranging from small electronics and books to toys and other small items, for customers in all of southern Colorado and beyond. Merchandise from the fulfillment center is sent to either the nearby sorting center for out-of-town delivery or to a delivery station, where drivers pick up merchandise for delivery to customer homes, Amazon lockers at convenience stores, Whole Foods Markets and other locations.

Amazon hiring 2,500 for Colorado Springs distribution center

Amazon has leased a former Sam's Club warehouse at 715 S. Academy Blvd. that is being remodeled into another delivery station. The firm also acquired the former Western Forge tool manufacturing plant at 4607 Forge Road, off Garden of the Gods Road, which it is demolishing and will be the site for a third delivery station that's under construction. The company confirmed in its release that both delivery stations will open this year.

In Denver, Amazon is advertising openings at its fulfillment and sorting centers in Aurora as well as delivery stations in Aurora, Broomfield, Cherry Creek, Commerce City, Denver, Englewood, Loveland, Southglenn and Thornton. Amazon also works with 2,500 independent delivery companies that are expected to hire more than 125,000 delivery drivers nationwide by year's end, including many in Colorado.

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The Colorado hiring announcement is in addition to the 40,000 corporate and technology jobs Amazon said earlier this month it is trying to fill at 220 locations nationwide. The company has hired more than 450,000 people since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, which triggered surging demand for online merchandise. Amazon's sales grew by nearly 40% last year to $386.1 billion and grew another 35% in the first half of 2021.

The latest hiring announcement comes less than a week after Amazon said it will pay for all tuition, books and fees for more than 750,000 of its operations employees for either associate's or bachelor's degrees at hundreds of schools across the nation, beginning Jan. 1. For full-time employees, the company also provides health, dental and vision coverage, a 401(k) retirement plan with a 50% match and up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave.

Amazon continues to expand its Colorado Springs presence

Amazon is hosting an online career day Wednesday, offering 20,000 sessions with Amazon recruiters for potential employees and thousands of other sessions for the company's current employees who want to move into higher-paying jobs with the company or elsewhere. The event is open to all potential employees, but registration at www.amazoncareerday.com/ is required.

Amazon's hiring plans come as employers across the state and nation struggle to fill openings, prompting some restaurants and other businesses to curtail operating hours or close locations.

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"Right now, there are over 125,000 open jobs in the State of Colorado. With the expiration of supplemental federal stimulus benefits, many Coloradoans need good, flexible, well-paying jobs," Joe Barela, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, said in the Amazon news release.

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