BOYS & GIRLS CLUB VISITS AMAZON

Amazon employees, including Cal Theune, far top left, welcome children from the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha as they visit the Amazon Fulfillment Center on Tuesday.

Like many of her peers on the cusp of turning 18 years old, Nakina Guyton is thinking about her future and what she would like to do post-high school graduation.

A tour of the sprawling Amazon Fulfillment Center on Tuesday along the Interstate 94 corridor gave Guyton and about 30 other youth in the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha a glimpse into what kinds of jobs might be waiting in the wings.

“I thought it was interesting,” Guyton said at the conclusion of the hourlong tour, which offered up a look into how the online retailer picks, packs and ships customers’ orders through state-of-the-art technology, including robotics.

From Guyton’s vantage point, she said, “I can see how this could be a good place to make money.”

The Amazon tour fit hand-in-glove into the science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — program, which has been an important backbone of the local Boys & Girls Club itinerary as leaders encourage students to think about what types of careers might be available on the road ahead.

“The thought is to help kids be ready for the next point in their life,” said Jake McGee, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. “We try to do that in a number of different ways. We try to pique the kids’ interest in different areas.”

Having the opportunity to tour the local Amazon Fulfillment Center was a logical way of achieving the club’s goal, McGee said.

“You drive by that building all the time,” he said. “It’s mysterious.”

Katie Hoehne, an Amazon employee, led the Boys & Girls Club students, staff and volunteers on the tour. Also along for the visit were two elected officials: state Reps. Tip McGuire, D-Kenosha, and Tod Ohnstad, D-Kenosha.

Throughout the hourlong session, Hoehne peppered attendees with a number of fun facts about the local fulfillment center, which has been in operation for four years.

“You could pack 17 Lambeau Fields into it,” Hoehne said as she attempted to illustrate the size of the local facility.

Amazon currently has 175 fulfillment centers across the globe. A fraction — 50 of the centers — have robotics on site, making the Kenosha area facility all the more notable, Hoehne said.

“A lot of things happen between the time you hit that ‘buy’ button and it’s shipped from a fulfillment center,” said Cody Voegerl, general manager of the Kenosha Amazon Robotics Fulfillment Center.

Kevin Black, teen services coordinator with the local Boys & Girls Club, said the Kenosha area is fortunate to have a number of notable employers.

“Touring places like this gives the kids a great opportunity to look at the different job opportunities in Kenosha,” Black said. “It’s definitely a unique experience for them.”

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s tour, Amazon staffers provided the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha with a surprise — a $15,000 donation, which will go toward further STEM-related programs within the organization.

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