Amazon's Alexa products. Image courtesy of Amazon.

Amazon is expanding its presence in Pittsburgh with a SouthSide Works location, placing the company among other tech giants in the region including Apple, Microsoft, Uber and Google.

At its new site, the Seattle-based online retailer has 50 employees working in technical roles on Amazon Web Services and the company’s voice-controlled intelligent assistant, Alexa. Dozens of new positions are expected to open at the office in the years to come, says Amazon corporate spokesperson Teal Pennebaker.

Amazon already employs hundreds of people in the area at its fulfillment center in Crafton.

“Pittsburgh is a city with phenomenal technical talent,” says Pennebaker, citing the city’s startup community and the students coming out of Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh. “We’ve found that Pittsburghers are a great fit at Amazon, where they’re empowered to invent and think big on behalf of our customers.”

The office is part of Amazon’s recently announced goal to grow its US workforce to more than 280,000 full-time workers by mid-2018. Currently, the company has 180,000 employees across the country. The new jobs will cover all types of experience, education and skill levels, from entry-level positions to engineers and software developers.

In an official statement, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the ambitious hiring push aligns with the company’s plans to “open new fulfillment centers” in places like Texas, California, Florida and New Jersey and “continue to invent in areas like cloud technology, machine learning and advanced logistics.”

“Innovation is one of our guiding principles at Amazon, and it’s created hundreds of thousands of American jobs,” said Bezos in a statement. “These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valley—they’re in our customer service network, fulfillment centers and other facilities in local communities throughout the country.”

While Amazon is best known as a massive online marketplace, the company has invested in ventures like video streaming and film production in order to stay competitive. Its expansion into cloud services, as well as high-tech voice-controlled devices like Alexa and Echo, are central to the company’s now growing reputation as a major job driver.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.