By Alistair Barr
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc unveiled a new hiring spree on Monday ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama to one of the Internet retailer's giant distribution warehouses this week.
Amazon said it is looking to fill more than 5,000 new full-time jobs at 17 of its fulfillment centers across the United States. That's roughly a 25 percent increase in full-time fulfillment center staff, which currently number more than 20,000 in the country.
Amazon has been building lots of new fulfillment centers closer to customers in recent years as the company tries to speed up delivery of online orders and reduce shipping costs.
Amazon needs a lot of workers to pick, pack and ship orders alongside high tech robots that whiz around its warehouses. The company's demand for employees is so strong that it has created special programs to woo candidates.
Last year, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos used the front page of the company's website to announce a Career Choice program that pays thousands of dollars for warehouse employees to take technical and vocational courses in high-demand areas including engineering, information technology, transportation and accounting.
Amazon made its latest hiring push as President Obama is due to visit a company fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Tuesday to speak about jobs in the United States.
The President will discuss proposals to jumpstart private sector job growth and make America more competitive, according to a White House spokeswoman.
(Reporting by Alistair Barr; Editing by Chris Reese)