JOLIET – Amazon.com announced Wednesday it will add a second fulfillment center in Joliet, adding 2,000 full-time jobs.
The announcement bolsters Joliet's potential as an e-commerce center, local officials said.
The news marked the second time this year that Amazon.com has announced expansions of its Joliet operations, which opened in October. The company in March added 500 jobs, bringing its workforce to 1,500.
The new facility will be located across from Amazon.com's existing fulfillment center in the Laraway Crossings Business Park. The company did not provide a timeline for hiring and opening, but local officials speculated the facility will open by the holiday shopping season.
"Last year, they had a real push to open by Thanksgiving, and they did it," said Mayor Bob O'Dekirk.
He said the Amazon.com expansion marks new opportunities for employment in the area, noting that Joliet Junior College has developed a program for jobs in the supply chain industry.
"I would encourage any resident to look at the Amazon [employment] website and look at what Joliet Junior College has to offer," O'Dekirk said. "These are careers that didn't use to exist here. It's good news for the young people of the city."
O'Dekirk is quoted in the company news release announcing the project saying Amazon.com's "confidence in our community demonstrates that Joliet can attract the best employers in the e-commerce sector."
Amazon.com's announcement comes as Ikea has started construction on a 2.8 million-square-foot distribution complex in the same business park, located on the south end of the city along Route 53.
The second Amazon.com facility will go into a 747,000-square-foot building that Hillwood Investment Properties started constructing in October. That building is located on a 49-acre site across Emerald Drive from the existing Amazon.com fulfillment center.
The new Joliet fulfillment center, like the existing facility, will pack and ship small items like books, toys and electronics, the company stated in an email.
"We have found an abundance of talent in Joliet, and we are excited to bring a new fulfillment center to the city and create 2,000 great full-time jobs with benefits," Akash Chauhan, vice president of Amazon.com North American operations, said in the news release. "This community and the elected officials throughout the city and state have been very supportive of Amazon and we thank them for helping make this possible."
The company described its jobs as providing competitive wages with benefits that include health care, 401(k) and company stock awards. Amazon.com also has a Career Choice program that pays 95 percent of tuition for "in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon," according to the news release.
Amazon.com did not provide the wage range for Joliet facilities.
But the opening of the Joliet fulfillment center did push up wages at other distribution facilities in the area, said John Greuling, CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development.
Greuling said the expansion of Amazon.com "says we're definitely gaining notoriety as not just a distribution and logistics center but also as an e-commerce center. The Ikea deal also is representative of that."
The continued development also makes Will County stand out in Illinois, Greuling said.
"In spite of the state's problems, our transportation network, our location and our workforce continue to be attractive to employers," he said.