By David Pittman –
Nation’s Largest Cable Provider Will Hire 1,100
A building that had become a monument to emptiness is now a state-of-the-art facility that will house the largest call center in the nation for Comcast, the largest cable provider in the nation.
Comcast held a grand opening on May 5 for the 100,000-square-foot call center after a $17 million renovation of the former American Home Furnishings building at 4690 N. Oracle Road, adjacent to Tucson Mall. This company will bring 1,100 new jobs to Tucson.
Comcast officials also announced that wages at the new call center will be competitive and will be considered a high rate within the call center industry.
The new Tucson customer support center the company calls a “center of excellence” includes state-of-the-art Xfinity product training labs, video conference facilities, multiple cafeterias, meeting rooms and a fitness center.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Comcast’s decision to locate the call center in Tucson will result in a payroll of $35 million and serves as “one more major signal to the world that Arizona is open for business.”
“Comcast’s new presence will bring a $385 million total economic impact to our region through the creation of thousands of new direct and indirect jobs, payroll and capital investment,” said Joe Snell, president and CEO of Sun Corridor, Inc. “The presence of Comcast will show the world we are a serious contender when it comes to innovative global companies seeking to expand operations in Southern Arizona.”
In renovating the old American Home Furnishings building, Comcast qualified to receive the “Primary Jobs Incentive” from the City of Tucson, which rewards companies that bring quality jobs and investment into Tucson. The incentive provides up to a 100 percent credit of construction sales taxes to qualifying expenses − such as job-training, public infrastructure improvements and impact fees. The city also waives building permit fees.
To qualify for the Primary Jobs Incentive, a business must invest a minimum of $5 million in facilities or equipment, cover at least 75 percent of employee health insurance premiums, and create 25 jobs that pay average wages of at least $52,400 (other local jobs are paid an average of $45,600).
“We are making a big investment in Tucson,” said Darryl Hawkins, GM and director of Comcast operations in Arizona. “We are excited about letting the public know what our strategy is around improving customer services.”
Hiring 1,100 new employees in Tucson is part of a new multi-year plan by Comcast to hire more than 5,500 people nationwide to improve its customer experience, develop new tools and technology, create new and improved stores and even includes a pledge to always be on time. In addition to the Tucson center, similar customer support facilities have been announced for Albuquerque and Spokane.
Comcast representatives’ at the Tucson call center will assist customers with billing and repair questions, as well as sales and customer service issues. The center will also be home to Spanish-speaking employees specializing in social media.
Hawkins said the availability of bilingual employees in Tucson was a major reason for Comcast’s decision to move here. A factor in choosing the Oracle Road site was its proximity to bike lanes, bus services and consumer amenities.
Although the company will initially hire 1,100 new workers to staff the Tucson call center, Hawkins said Comcast hopes that number will expand to as many as 1,250 over the next few years. He said the hiring of 1,100 new Tucson employees will bring the number of Comcast workers in metro Tucson to 1,240 because the company already has 140 employees who operate from offices at 8251 N. Cortaro Road in Marana.
Hawkins, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, also was pleased to speak about Comcast’s national commitment to hire those who have served in the military. As a result, “15 percent of the hires at the Tucson customer-service center will be reservists, veterans and their spouses or domestic partners,” he said.