Hundreds of people lined up in search of a job

The 2023 Blount County Job Fair saw hundreds of future employees at Foothills Mall in Maryville, TN.
Amazon warehouses and Blount County Job Fair
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:01 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Today around 80 companies were all in one place in Blount County for a job fair that is put on every year by the Blount Chamber of Commerce. It was at the Foothills Mall in Maryville, Tennessee.

Companies including chick-fil-a, Knoxville Utilities Board, The Blount County Sherriff’s office, Harley Davidson, and Smith and Wesson all had representatives there answering anyone’s questions. One company that was also searching for their next hire was, Amazon . This comes as amazon just announced a big job cut and two warehouses here in east Tennessee still sit empty.

It seemed like most the people at the fair were there to speak to Amazon and Smith and Wesson, with the lines wrapped around almost to the front doors of the mall.

Tammi Ford, Vice President of the Blount Chamber of Commerce, told me she was shocked by the massive turnout.

”The Blount partnership puts this on every year and I’ve been with the partnership for a long time and so I’ve seen years where its been really lean and then I’ve seen years where its had a lot but I was blown away today, I had to park way away and then walk in and see the lines for Smith and Wesson and think this is just great.” She also said this is a sign that Blount County is growing and it’s a good thing for the people needing jobs.

Ford said many people that were there are either on the hunt for a new job or looking to change career paths, either way there was something there for everyone.

One company that seemed to draw a big crowd was Amazon. The facilities are expected to bring around 800 new jobs to the area. Amazon was at the job fair today with a long line of people wondering when a job could be available.

Amazon still has no word on when they may be and they did decline to speak to us.

Gerald Carter said he mainly came to the job fair for Amazon. ”I’ve been waiting for them to get done I think they delayed the production on the building but so I’m just trying to get in,” said Carter. “I heard it was a good company to work for.”

Amazon has two facilities just 15 minutes apart from each other in Alcoa and Knoxville. They were originally set to open in May of 2022 then it was moved until October of last year. The two warehouses still remain empty.

Brett Kunkel was at the job fair looking to speak to Amazonas well, he was hoping to leave with at least some new information.

”They dont know yet when they’re going to start opening up and hiring but they have a card with a number on it that theyre going to try and get more people in and let them get a date of when they will open up there two stores,” said Kunkel.

Card amazon officials handed out to potential new job candidates
Card amazon officials handed out to potential new job candidates(clear)

The card amazon officials handed out to people tells them to sign up for text updates for when jobs become available and then it will notify them of opportunities with Amazon. The 635,000-square-foot facility will be where orders are received, stored, packed and then shipped. Amazon officials today told us the facilities should be operational by may 2023 or the end of summer this year.