Who's hiring? Tampa General, Amazon, more growing companies add jobs

Increased demand for services is driving growth at Tampa General Hospital and Amazon, creating thousands of new jobs.

TGH has launched what hospital officials describe as the largest master facility plan in its history, investing $550 million for improvements on and off its Davis Island site in Tampa through 2026. The upgrades collectively are projected to create nearly 6,000 jobs, including additions to TGH staff and construction.

“We are growing, which is a really good thing,” says John Couris, TGH’s president and CEO. “We’re basically running out of room.”

Already at 1,041 beds, the non-profit academic medical center serving Florida and beyond will be adding another 100 beds to enhance clinical services like transplants.

“We’re so busy that we need more capacity, even with all the improvements that we are making ... we still need more beds,” Couris explains.

The original hospital, which sits at the center of the 25-acre campus, also is close to 100 years old and due for modernization, he points out.

Meanwhile, Amazon will be hiring some 1,000 fulltime, permanent fulfillment workers for its new Temple Terrace warehouse facility, in time to meet the demand of 2021 holiday season. Employees will be working with hundreds of robots, called Amazon Drives, much like they already are doing at Amazon’s facility in Ruskin.

“Essentially the associates will work hand in hand with the robots,” explains Charles Patrick, an engagement specialist in Ruskin working with new hires. “The robots bring the products to the employees, to their workstation.”

TGH upgrade underway

Among the initial improvements at Tampa General are 34 new Intensive Care Unit rooms with upgraded and advanced care technologies, plus a central energy plant expansion boosting backup energy from 50 percent to 100 percent of the campus.

“The central energy plant is built 36 feet above sea level. That’s a big deal,” says Couris, who adds that Tampa Electric Co. buried electric and gas lines underwater to replace those under the bridge to Davis Island.

With hiring completed on those two, more jobs are coming in 2022. Here are some details on other parts of the upgrade, according to hospital sources:
  • A 15,000-square-foot freestanding Emergency Department one mile from the hospital is planned at Kennedy Boulevard and North Willow Avenue. This is scheduled for completion in March 2022.
  • The Regional Burn Center renovation and expansion to provide larger rooms and more efficient layouts, which is underway, is scheduled for completion in May 2022. TGH is the region’s only center for comprehensive burn care and Level 1 trauma.
  • Slated to begin construction November 1 is a modernization project for cancer patient care that will involve bone marrow transplant services. It is scheduled for completion around July 2022. 
  • TGH’s Bayshore Pavilion is to expand with the addition of four floors above the Emergency Department, offering 12 new operating rooms and 100 beds. This is scheduled for completion in June 2025.
Also anticipated are renovated operating rooms with modernized equipment by October 2025; an eight-story corporate parking garage by July 2022; an offsite sterile processing facility by February 2023; and the purchase of Hillsborough Community College’s Davis Island building adjacent to the hospital, which is to be converted into hospital administrative, education, and training space at an unspecified time.

Total economic impact in Hillsborough County is expected to exceed $850 million, with the greatest impact in construction and knowledge-based services.

TGH’s website was listing more than 500 jobs in mid-October, some 489 for Tampa. Positions included critical care nurses for TGH Emerging Diseases Institute, clinical nurses, pre-service financial counselor specialists, social workers, respiratory care professionals, and more.

TGH offers all of its employees career development through a new partnership with the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business called the People Development Institute. The non-clinical courses are free.

To Tampa General, diversity is strength, Couris says.

“We embrace diversity, period,” he says. “This has always been a part of TGH. ... It’s simply the right thing to do.”

Amazon gears up

Robots, which are expected to enhance safety at Amazon, will be used to deliver products to employees for boxing or to take the products to storage areas. While fulfillment workers will want to wear comfortable shoes, they won’t necessarily be moving continuously.

“It [the robot] makes their jobs easier,” explains Patrick, who says robots won’t reduce the number of jobs for people.

The facility about the size of 12 football fields is at 8727 Harney Road, where there will be free parking for all employees. It is dedicated to merchandize such as books and toys rather than bulk items like refrigerators.

While Amazon would not disclose capital expenditures for the facility, the land was purchased from DCH Citrus LLC in June 2020 for some $26.4 million, according to Hillsborough County records.

Amazon has streamlined the hiring process, requiring no formal interview. Prospective employees must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school or GED diploma. They also must 1) pass a background check and drug screen; and 2) interact with the team in-person and get a verbal job description.

During the online screening, employees will be able to self-identify with minority and ethnic groups, the disabled, or a religious creed. Once onboard, they can be part of affinity (community) groups that do things like facilitate prayer stations where they can wash their feet or attend military gatherings together as “Amazonians,” Patrick notes.

If new hires need to learn English, Amazon provides that along with other benefits such as free vaccinations, a 401K with a 50 percent match starting Day 1, up to 20 weeks maternal/paternal paid leave, and up-skill training.

“Here at Amazon we welcome all,” he says.

Wages start at $15 for fulfillment workers.

Details weren’t available for other positions to be available at the Temple Terrace facility, but they are expected to include human resources, finance, and engineers to maintain the robots.

Owen Torres, an Amazon spokesperson, says the online retailer is expanding to meet customer demand.

Amazon, which employees more than 52,000 statewide, is constantly growing, Patrick says. Plans call for adding 8,000 employees statewide for the holiday season, including full- and part-time permanent and seasonal workers. 

Two new Tampa area delivery stations, designed to increase efficiency by handling the last mile of the order process, also are expected to hire hundreds for full-time work starting at $15 an hour. Packages are shipped there from nearby fulfillment and sorting centers for final delivery.

A delivery station at 6384 Harney Road is expected to open in time for the ’21 holiday season and employ 100, Torres says. Another site at 13010 Bay Industrial Dr. in Gibsonton is slated to open in 2022.

These stations also give entrepreneurs an opportunity to build their own business making Amazon deliveries as independent contractors.

Prospective employees should visit Amazon's website and sign up for job alerts if specific shifts aren’t live yet.

More growing companies adding jobs

Read on for more information about upcoming expansions and other job-related news:
  • AdventHealth is holding a Career Expo from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. October 26 and 27 at Tampa’s Amalie Arena at 401 Channelside Dr. Learn more and/or register.
  • Tampa Tank-Florida Structural Steel is planning to expand its Tampa headquarters located in Gibsonton, company officials say. The firm, which added 40 new jobs this year to bring its workforce to pre-COVID levels, intends to hire 60 more welders, fitters, machinists, and equipment operators with an average wage of $21 an hour by the end of 2022. Learn more.
  • ARK Investment Management LLC, which invests in disruptive innovation, is relocating its New York City headquarters to 200 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, starting November 1. It also is collaborating with the Tampa Bay Innovation Center on a new incubator facility named the ARK Innovation Center, set to open at 4th Street and 11th Avenue South in St. Petersburg in July 2023. While a substantial number of employees have agreed to relocate to St. Petersburg, company officials are looking to attract workers globally through its hybrid work model. Tonya Elmore, the Innovation Center’s president and CEO, says initial projections for the Innovation Center indicated some 228 new direct jobs could be created by 2026. “However, with ARK Investment Management as a collaborator that number could be 5X higher than originally calculated by our feasibility consultant,” she says.
  • USI Insurance Services is expanding its Tampa office with the addition of 25 new high-wage jobs by the end of 2022, company officials say. The office at 2502 N. Rock Point Dr. currently serves of the needs of its clients across the Southeast with more than 200 insurance and risk management professionals. The insurance brokerage and consulting firm will be seeking to fill positions in client management, sales and consulting. Learn more.
  • Residence Inn Tampa Wesley Chapel is holding a job fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at AdventHealth Sports Arena, 3021 Sports Coast Way, Wesley Chapel. With the opening of a new 128-room inn scheduled at the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County in December, the hotel is seeking to fill a variety of full- and part-time hourly jobs in the following areas: front desk, housekeeping, maintenance, food and beverage, and more. Learn more and apply.
  • CareerSource Tampa Bay is holding a virtual hiring event for Hillsborough County veterans and military families from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29. To register, visit the CareerSource website.
  • Need to give your job search a boost? Check out CareerSource Tampa Bay’s Resource Fair to learn about programs that may help you. More than 20 agencies and services will be represented at the fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, at its Tampa Center at 9215 N. Florida Ave., Suite 101.
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Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune