LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – Hundreds of applicants lined up at an Amazon job fair at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, in Lancaster Wednesday, looking to get chosen for one of the new jobs at the company’s new warehouse “sortation center” on Walden Avenue.

The Amazon hiring expo—replete with refreshments—was the latest employment extravaganza to be held in Western New York in recent weeks: Panasonic held a job fair last week, and Fisher Price has scheduled one for Monday at the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga.

It is part of an employment boom Buffalo has not experienced in many years, and some business experts attribute the jobs surge to world’s new “digital economy”, with Buffalo finally catching up with the rest of the country.

Among the candidates standing in the long line was Martin Kosha of Tonawanda who just lost his long-time job two months ago. but Kosha feels he has prepared himself for the challenge, “I went and got my real estate license, but that is not going to be enough to sustain my family. I have been a warehouse manager for 25 years, and I actually did a fulfillment by Amazon.”

The jobs Amazon was looking to fill at the job fair were part-time warehouse positions at their sortation center, which is under construction. The jobs start at $12.25 an hour, but Amazon spokesperson Kayla Hansen said, the company offers opportunity for advancement, and they encourage career growth for their “Amazonians”.

“Many of our managers and leaders, today, actually started in an hourly position. In fact, of our entry level managers, more than 10% of them started in an hourly position and were promoted into their current position.”

Buffalo mother Yvonne Vincent is one of the many applicants who were looking for part-time work, with above average pay, and eventually benefits, to help make ends meet.

“I have a part time job in the evening, so this will really help me out in the daytime when the kids are at school, give me an opportunity to make some additional money. I really need to make additional money with so many bills.”

What is driving Buffalo’s hiring surge? Steven Elwell of Level Financial Advisors said it is the new “digital economy”, based on the West Coast. Elwell believes Buffalo’s much lower cost of living is among the advantages the region can offer.

“As it turns out, we have an educated workforce that can be implemented in relatively low cost, when you are thinking about what it costs to hire someone here versus hiring someone in San Francisco.”

The job fair Salvatore’s was one of several Amazon is holding across the country this week, looking to hire as many as 50,000 new workers.

While the jobs they plan to fill initially in Lancaster are for part-time warehouse work, Amazon also needs to fill full-time positions, such as human resources, technical, and other jobs before the sortation center opens sometime this fall.

If you would like to apply for one of the local jobs with Amazon, click on this link to their jobs website.