Call center could create 350 jobs
Tuesday, October 03 2006 @ 07:49 am EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
The majority of the calls would be made to the center, Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce president and CEO John Mehner said, not from it. NARS' biggest client is Sprint Nextel, which provides more than 60 percent of the company's business. "Predominately, they would be answering customer service calls," Mehner said. The call center may also handle debt collection calls, officials said.
The company is considering several existing buildings in Cape Girardeau with 35,000 to 45,000 square feet of space, Robinson said. The front-runner appears to be the former Sears building at 2101 William St. All of the buildings being considered would require remodeling to meet the requirements of the project, Robinson said. The company is also considering two other locations that are not in Missouri. Robinson, Knudtson and Mehner all said they are convinced the area has more than enough workers to fulfill the company's needs. "We can do it," Robinson said. "... But they want to make sure."
Company representatives will accept applications at the job fair from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will gauge interest from the work force. Economic developers and Knudtson hope people wanting a job will turn out in droves to put NARS executives' minds to rest. Cape Girardeau's unemployment rate stands at about 4.6 percent, according to the most recent statistics provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The company should draw interest from workers across the region and into Southern Illinois, Robinson said. NARS offers full- and part-time jobs with benefits and would likely draw heavily on university students, Robinson said.
The company will pay $8.50 an hour plus benefits for entry-level positions. Supervisors will earn from $22,000 to $32,000 annually, and top-level managers will be paid between $30,000 and $50,000 a year. Two of the original obstacles have been removed after three months of work, Knudtson said. Initially, the company was concerned about state incentives, but Robinson said he has a "full incentives package" laid out for NARS should the company agree to come here. Concerns about finding an adequate building also existed, though Knudtson said the Sears building seems to have put those to rest.
Now it's all about the workforce. "I absolutely understand their concerns," Knudtson said. "The last thing they want to do is invest in setting up here and not having the staff to man it. But I believe this community can support that."
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