Minnesota

Amazon Partners With Somali Community To Shuttle Cedar-Riverside Workers

By Nina Moini

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Amazon has hired hundreds of Minnesotans to work at its giant fulfillment center in Shakopee since it opened one year ago.

Many of those employees are coming from the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis, where predominantly Somali-Americans live. The company and local community teamed up to make sure those hired have a way to get to work.

Mohamud Noor of the Confederation of Somali Community runs a neighborhood job center, where dozens of people line up every day for a chance to work in the Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee.

They are looking for warehouse jobs like packaging and shipping.

“Anybody who walks in who needs transportation will get a bus,” Noor said.

Every day, Amazon sends shuttles for hundreds of employees in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood to be able to make the day and evening shifts.

“It is huge,” Noor said. “It is giving people hope.”

Noor said Amazon has hired 1,500 people out of the Cedar-Riverside job center alone in the last year.

“You walk in and you walk out with employment,” Noor said. “All you have to do is take an assessment on the computer, pass the assessment, do the drug test, wait for your orientation and get to work.”

Noor said most people who pass the criteria walk away with a job, and report to work within 10 days. It is a way to tackle the 20 percent unemployment rate in the Somali-American community in Minnesota.

Thanks to the buses, challenges are eliminated for the commute, which takes 40 minutes each way.

“You have free transportation from outside this office to Shakopee and then back again so it’s phenomenal,” Noor said.

Amazon is still looking for hundreds of more employees for all types of work at the Shakopee location. The work center is open to anyone.

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