Internet retailer Amazon.com will open a customer service center in Winchester, Ky., that will offer more than 550 full-time and 600 seasonal jobs by 2017, the company said Wednesday.
The company has already posted Winchester-based jobs on its careers Web site including positions for customer service manager, quality improvement manager, workflow manager and human resources manager.
Amazon in Winchester will handle customer calls and e-mails and provide technical support.
Amazon already has a large presence in Kentucky, with fulfillment centers in Lexington, Campbellsville, Louisville and Hebron.
Amazon said it will invest $20.7 million in its Winchester service center, to be built in the Winchester Industrial Park, although the specific location has not been finalized. The 70,000-square-foot permanent building is scheduled to open in 2013. In the meantime, Amazon will operate out of the Winchester Plaza shopping center.
"The investment and careers that Amazon will create will ripple through our economy, putting people to work and generating income for our region," said Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner. "That is what economic development is all about."
Amazon's employment Web site said that Amazon employees receive health care, dental and vision plans, paid time off and a 401(k) savings plan with company match. Some jobs qualify for relocation assistance.
The Seattle-based Internet retailing giant employs more than 51,300 people worldwide, according to its Web site, in countries from China to Brazil.
The average wage in Winchester will be about $15.64, or $20 including benefits, said Todd Denham, executive director of the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Authority.
"That payroll is certainly going to be much needed," he said. "That's going to elevate folks into higher-paying jobs, and bring jobs for those who are unemployed."
He said that about 150 to 200 people will be hired during the first year of operation.
Amazon will host informational sessions on May 16 and 17 at the Clark County Extension Office, 1400 Fortune Drive in Winchester. Drop-in sessions will open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will offer information about jobs available at the new center.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved Amazon for tax incentives up to $10.25 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments.
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