AT&T announced plans today to hire 175 people for a Little Rock call center that will, among others, provide help for people setting up high-speed Internet service. Ah, yes, how well I remember my call setting up AT&T Internet service at home. A very pleasant young woman in Mumbai or thereabouts spoke a language that was strikingly similar to English though wholly incomprehensible in the context.
News release on the jump.
AT&T NEWS RELEASE
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has announced plans for an Internet subscriber support center that will bring 175 new jobs to Little Rock. Gov. Mike Beebe and Mayor Mark Stodola joined local leaders and AT&T Arkansas today for the announcement.
Employees in the new Little Rock center will initially assist AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet subscribers who self-install their service. As the center expands, employees will also assist customers with broader questions about the service. The employees will work in AT&T’s Arkansas headquarters building at 1111 W. Capitol Ave.
"This announcement bucks the outsourcing trend by bringing jobs back to America and to Arkansas,” said Beebe. “I thank AT&T for showing confidence in Arkansans and locating this center in Little Rock.”
"Our city can take great pride in seeing AT&T expanding its operations and growing jobs, especially here in downtown,” said Stodola. “We compete with cities across the globe for these kinds of growth opportunities, and it is always good to see Little Rock come out on top.”
“Arkansas has a business climate that invites investment, and the Arkansans whom we employ are a great fit for these jobs because they are customer-friendly and understand technology,” said Ed Drilling, president of AT&T Arkansas. “These 175 new jobs literally could have gone anywhere in the country, and it is because of the visionary leadership of Governor Beebe, city leaders, the Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas General Assembly that we are opening this new Internet subscriber support center.”
The 175 new jobs will result in $4 million in additional payroll by 2009 and some $3 million in capital investment. AT&T currently employs more than 2,600 Arkansans with a 2006 payroll of more than $131 million.
The new jobs are part of an initiative that AT&T announced last September involving the relocation of customer service positions that had previously been outsourced. All of the 175 jobs are Communications Worker of America (CWA)-represented positions. The center will include additional management jobs.
“The employees in this new center will carry on a proud tradition of serving customers well in Arkansas,” said Diane Wiggs, president of CWA Local 6508. “I’m confident that our new workers will provide for a great customer experience.”