(KING) -- Amazon announced Thursday it plans to add 30,000 part-time positions in the U.S. over the next year, part of a massive hiring binge by the online retailing giant.
The part-time hiring includes 5,000 jobs in Virtual Customer Service, which would allow employees to work as a customer service agent from home. The remaining 25,000 would be at Amazon warehouses. Any part-time employees who work 20 hours or more a week are also eligible for benefits.
"There are lots of people who want or need a flexible job — whether they’re a military spouse, a college student, or a parent — and we’re happy to empower these talented people no matter where they happen to live,” said Tom Weiland, Amazon's vice president for worldwide customer service, in a statement.
The part-time plan is part of a larger hiring spree by Amazon. In January, the company said it would add 100,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. with full benefits over the next 18 months. Most positions will be filled at fulfillment centers and in new fields including cloud technology and machine learning.
Amazon has bolstered its workforce over the last several years. In 2011, Amazon had more than 56,000 full- and part-time employees. By the end of its 2016 fiscal year, that number swelled to more than 341,000.
Amazon's rapid growth has had a huge impact on the retail industry, which accounts for 1 in every 10 workers in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Concerns have also been raised about the quality of job prospective employees will earn when hired by Amazon. The company has faced complaints and lawsuits tied to working conditions and low wages. In a statement to USA TODAY in January, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman defended Amazon's culture, saying they are "proud of the work environment and the culture we have."
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