CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — At Amazon's Chattanooga distribution center, military veteran Scot Newport is using his leadership skills developed over 27 years in the Army to help run the busy distribution center during the annual holiday busy season.
"It's a very exciting time of the year for Amazon," he said.
Newport told The Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/XGl538 ) he joined the nation's No. 1 retailer, which has been named among the nation's top military friendly employers, because of the company's openness to veterans. He's a former U.S. Army colonel who now serves as senior operations manager for outbound shipping at the Chattanooga facility.
"It has a very robust recruitment effort for veterans," Newport said.
Veterans who have served after Sept. 11, 2001, had an unemployed rate of 10 percent in November, higher than the national average of 7.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Amazon launched a military talent program in 2010 to recruit military veterans for its fulfillment network across the country. The program is managed by a team of military recruiters who have served in various military branches. Amazon has hired more than 600 veterans in this year alone.
Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said the Seattle-based company has a half dozen military recruiters who go to hundreds of job fairs. Once they are hired, the company has programs in place to support veterans making the transition from the military to the business world.
"We're thinking about the transition from the military to civilian life and we want to support them," Cheeseman said.
For Newport, his job requires him to spend his shift on the fulfillment center's floor and interacting with other workers.
"My sweet spot is leadership," Newport said, adding he formerly commanded up to 15,000 troops. "Those leadership skills are what Amazon is looking for."
Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com