Amazon’s announcement impacting area’s labor picture


WILMINGTON — The coming addition of Amazon as a local employer is expected to cause some existing employers to sweeten their pay and benefits — in fact, it’s already started, said the executive director of Workforce Services Unlimited (WSU).

WSU Executive Director Pamela G. Hively made her comments at a recent meeting of people with ties to workforce development services in Clinton County.

“And especially with the Amazon announcement, we’ve got other employers who are realizing they need to up their wages and their benefit packages to stay competitive in the area. We’re already seeing that,” Hively said Nov. 20, hardly a week after Amazon’s Nov. 12 announcement it will open an air gateway at the Wilmington Air Park where freight will be sorted.

On the day of the announcement, the OhioMeansJobs workforce development agency of the Clinton County Job & Family Services (JFS) started getting calls from interested people, said Hively.

The workforce development officials at the meeting welcomed the prospect of a new employer in town spurring improved wages and benefits for the local workforce in general. For its U.S. employees, Amazon has a minimum hourly pay rate of $15.

Clinton County JFS Director Kathi Spirk said 50 percent of Clinton Countians with Medicaid are employed. Medicaid is a government health care program that assists low-income families or individuals in paying for doctor visits, hospital stays, long-term medical and more.

Medicaid numbers in Clinton County are staying about the same, said Spirk, “because while people are employed, many employers are not providing medical insurance.”

And according to the approved minutes of the workforce group’s meeting this summer, Spirk said she is feeling optimistic about the improving economy and the poverty level, but “the one thing she still notices is that many folks who are still receiving [public] assistance provided by Job & Family Services are underemployed and need to receive a living wage.”

Hively said the local OhioMeansJobs Center (located in Suite 500 of the JFS building at 1025 South South Street in Wilmington) is already taking resumés, as well as accepting names and email and mailing addresses of people interested in an Amazon job.

“We’re just excited Wilmington is back in the mix again there. We’ll definitely keep having a role in that,” she reported.

People can drop off their resumé at the OhioMeansJobs office or email their resumé to [email protected] .

Job Developer Tammy Keller at the local office said people can come to the office and receive resumé assistance.

Hively emphasized that the local OhioMeansJobs Center also provides workforce development services to other local employers and will remain supportive of the existing employers and their particular workforce development needs.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]

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