“Access to talent was one of the key factors in our search for a second headquarters — and we are very happy with the caliber of the talent we’ve been able to hire in Arlington and the DMV region,” said Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy. “We look forward to continuing to develop Virginia as a tech and innovation hub over the next decade.”
The new employees will work on several Amazon businesses, including Fire TV, Amazon Web Services, Amazon Prime and Alexa. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Another 4oo who work for contractors at Amazon’s headquarters have also been hired, but none of the new workers, whether engineers or security guards, have yet shown up to work. That’s because Amazon’s offices, including the company’s temporary space in Crystal City, are shut down until Oct. 2 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesman said the company does not immediately have a count of how many of its hires are local residents.
The economic impact of the coronavirus shutdown has been severe — in Virginia and across the nation. The commonwealth’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in May, up from 3.3 percent in March, the Virginia Employment Commission said.
But some businesses, like Amazon’s, have boomed. While many lost their jobs, and even those who remained employed worked from home, demand for Amazon’s delivery and Web services rose.
The company continues to hire across the United States, interviewing and training new employees remotely, and has 20,000 open positions at present. Amazon is advertising 450 jobs in Arlington, and has 16,000 full- or part-time employees at other sites in Virginia.
The construction of the company’s second headquarters is now past the pile-driving phase. Employees are expected to move into the 2.1 million square feet in the new 22-story towers in 2023. A second building nearby, which occupies 10 acres in Pentagon City, is in the design phase.
Amazon chose Arlington as a headquarters site in November 2018 after a nationwide search. (The company originally planned to split a 50,000-employee headquarters between Arlington and Long Island City in New York but withdrew from New York several months later.)
The retail giant promised to bring high-paying jobs to the region and to build an environmentally sensitive, community-oriented workforce and workspace.
Huseman’s announcement touts the company’s $3.9 million donation to CodeVA to expand computer science education in high schools; $1 million in donations to four nonprofit groups dealing with hunger caused by the pandemic; and several hundred thousand dollars for food banks and food deliveries. A new solar farm in Pittsylvania County will help power the new campus with renewable energy.