Stepping up after Hurricane Maria
Family is a visible, permanent part of who Chris Ramos is. Tattooed on his neck is a silhouetted image of Ramos, his daughter, and his two stepdaughters.
“They are my world," he said. "Everything I do is for them.”
Ramos grew up in Puerto Rico, the oldest of three. Although his mom worked hard to support him and his two little sisters after his dad passed away, they struggled to make ends meet. Ramos’ youngest sister has serious medical and developmental issues, making it even more difficult for his mom to work full-time. Ramos picked up painting jobs here and there, but steady employment was hard to find. “There weren’t a lot of jobs for me in Puerto Rico, and I needed to do more to help support my family.”
Ramos also had a young family of his own to take care of. He left Puerto Rico and worked a few jobs in the mainland United States before being hired at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Tampa, Florida in 2016.
I’m more motivated than ever. I know my family is proud of me. I’m proud of me.
“Before I came to Amazon, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I feel like a new person here,” said Ramos. “I earn money for my family, and Amazon even pays for me to go to school.”
Ramos is referring to Amazon’s Career Choice program, which allows associates to further their education by attending classes inside fulfillment centers across the United States. With Career Choice, Amazon pays up to 95 percent of tuition and fees for classes pertaining to today’s most in-demand fields, regardless of whether those skills are related to jobs at Amazon. Ramos is enrolled in an HVAC course at Southern Technical College.
His path to success was nearly cut short when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. His family had to start over: “My mom, she lost everything.” Ramos moved her and his two sisters to Tampa, and even helped his mom get a job at Amazon.
Ramos has ambitions to one day own his own business. With the experience and opportunities that come with working at Amazon, and having his family by his side, he’s optimistic. “I’m more motivated than ever. I know my family is proud of me. I’m proud of me.”