Call center with over 700 jobs looks at region

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Is the Penn Yan area ready to be the home base for a business that could employ between 700 and 1,000 people?

Steve Griffin, CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC), says at least one company (yet to be identified) thinks the Penn Yan area might be a good spot to expand.

The out-of-state company is aggressively searching for their next expansion site, and has identified the Finger Lakes Region as a strong potential location for a site, according to Griffin.

But first, the company needs to be assured there is a labor force in the area to support the business.

“We have already had discussions in regards to potential sites and incentives and we are moving toward the next step in their due diligence — that being verification of local labor availability,” says Griffin.

To help measure the local labor force, three events are being held Nov. 9 and 10 in Canandaigua, Geneva and Penn Yan. Job seekers who turn out for one of the events will be interviewed, and while they might not walk out of the event with a job, their application and interview information will already be on file for the company if it makes the decision to move to the Finger Lakes.

“We believe the labor exists here,” says Griffin, and he believes people will travel to the Penn Yan area from the southern tier and other locations if the jobs are available here.

The FLEDC has been working with Finger Lakes Workforce New York to organize the job fairs, which will be held Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ontario County Safety Training Building, 2914 County Road 48, Canandaigua;  Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Geneva American Legion, Lochland Road, Geneva and Nov. 10 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Sarrasin’s on the Lake, 301 Lake St., Penn Yan.

Griffin says it is vital to have as many interested individuals as possible come out and apply for these positions as verification of available labor is key in the company’s decision. “Their ability to move forward with opening of the center in short order will be based in a very large part to the quality and quantity of interested individuals,” says Griffin.

“Karen Springmeier form the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board and Amy Miller from Yates County Office of Workforce Development have been absolutely fantastic in their support and efforts in helping to organize, coordinate and advertise the recruitment efforts on behalf of Yates County and the Finger Lakes Region as a whole,” says Griffin.

The company will hire technical customer service representatives, team supervisors, workforce coordinators and administrators, customer service trainers and a call center manager.

“There is absolutely real potential and if this step goes well, we’ll hear from them in the very near future,” says Griffin, who stresses the company’s decision to move here will be heavily influenced by the outcome of the job fairs.

Griffin says the company is also looking at locations in Michigan and South Carolina, but none of those sites are this far along in the process, and while Michigan can provide the labor force, the area can't provide incentives comparable to the Finger Lakes and Yates County incentives .