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As T-Mobile Closing, Bend Call Center Expanding


Some of the roughly 360 workers losing their jobs at T-Mobile’s Redmond call center could find a similar job in Bend this spring, as TRG Customer Solutions says it’s hiring for 100 new full-time jobs in May.

TRG’s call center offers technical support for companies. A representative said Friday that one of their clients is expanding, and they need to hire more people. The spokeswoman said there’s also a possibility of more jobs opening up later in the summer..

Since T-Mobile is due to close in late June, the TRG spokeswoman said the timing should work out for many of those laid-off workers to take the new TRG jobs, since the skills are very transferable.

To apply for the jobs, you can go to their Website at or and apply online, or call (541) 647-6678 for more information.

T-Mobile USA, Inc. announced Thursday it will consolidate its call center operations from 24 to 17 facilities by the end of June — and one of the seven being closed is in Redmond, costing Central Oregon one of its largest private employers and dealing another major blow to the High Desert’s effort to recover from economic woes.

?Concentrating call centers is an important step to achieve competitive cost structures to successfully compete as Challenger and value player in the wireless market,? said Philipp Humm, CEO and President of T-Mobile in a news release. ?These are not easy steps to take, but they are necessary to realize efficiency in order to invest for growth.?

Other Call centers scheduled for closure are located in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Frisco, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; Lenexa, Kansas, and Thornton, Colorado.

This consolidation effort will result in 1,900 net job reductions. T-Mobile employs approximately 3,300 people at the seven affected facilities. However, the company said it will begin hiring immediately at the remaining 17 call centers and expects to fill as many as 1,400 positions to continue to meet customer needs. T-Mobile is inviting employees from the seven call centers, planned for closure, to transfer to another facility. Employees who transfer will be offered relocation assistance.

?We have tremendous customer service representatives who are highly skilled and dedicated to serving our customers. We hope as many as possible pursue transfers and stay with T-Mobile,? said Larry Myers, Chief People Officer of T-Mobile.

The Redmond call center opened with much fanfare in the fall of 2004 with 535 employees, having announced its choice of a Redmond location in August of 2003. At its peak, the center had nearly 900 employees, according to Roger Lee, executive director of Economic Development for Central Oregon.

Redmond’s second-largest employer had been trimming jobs for months, but that didn’t make it any easier for those who walked into work Thursday and heard the news.

“There’s been times i thought this might happen — I wasn’t expecting it just yet,” said Lyle Lynschied. “My concern is this many people being unemployed in Central Oregon, when it’s tough enough to find a job as it is.”

T-mobile says the employees are encouraged to apply for jobs at the other call centers; the nearest one is in Salem.

When the call center opened, pay starting at $11 to $13 an hour, that earned the company some tax relief as an employer inside the Redmond “enterprise zone.” The city says that obligation has been met, and T-Mobile doesn’t owe them anything.

It had made EDCO’s top five in its list of private employers in the region, but dropped from fourth to sixth last year with 640 employees reported — and at last report to EDCO, this year, it employed just 363 workers.

“I guess it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the company has been struggling in the marketplace,” Lee said, pointing to AT&T’s failed effort to acquire T-Mobile as a likely nail in the coffin of Redmond and the other closing call centers.

“We understood from the acquisition they (AT&T) probably were going to maintain their employment call centers,” if the acquisition had been successful, Lee said, since “customer satisfaction (scores) at T-Mobile were much better than it was at AT&T.”

“So the fact that didn’t happen, it’s not necessarily an unexpected result,” Lee said, adding that news of the closure is “certainly disappointing” to the region.

“From our perspective, we’re going to be looking to get that building filled as quickly as possible,” Lee said, adding that the region was entertaining interest from a couple of other call centers.

Lee said they have contact with some 30 site selection firms across the country, related to call center activity, and that EDCO will make sure they know the building will be available.

Affected call centers will remain open for three months following Thursday’s announcement and employees will continue to work during this time. Those employees who choose not to transfer to a remaining center, and are employed on the date the center closes, will be offered transition packages including severance pay and outplacement support.

T-Mobile is establishing on-site career centers at all seven facilities to provide employees with a personal career coach and access to job search training, tools and technologies. T-Mobile will pay for two months of continued health care coverage for eligible employees who elect COBRA benefits.

Additionally, T-Mobile will restructure and optimize operations in other parts of the business, which will take place by the end of second quarter of 2012. Efficiencies resulting from these changes will fuel investments that further strengthen T-Mobile?s competitiveness in the marketplace.

Some of these strategic investments – announced in February as part of T-Mobile?s reinvigorated Challenger strategy – include: a $4 billion modernization of its network and the planned launch of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in 2013, plans to revitalize the T-Mobile brand, and an investment in 1,000 new business sales positions.

City of Redmond news release:

T Mobile USA informed city of Redmond officials today of their plan to close their Redmond based call center, in addition to several other call centers nationwide at the end of June. The T Mobile call center is one of Redmond?s top 5 largest employers, and this closure will directly impact the 363 employees currently working at the Redmond facility.

T-Mobile also informed city of Redmond officials that most of those affected will have the option to transfer to jobs at remaining call centers in other states, including Tennessee, South Carolina and Maine. T-Mobile said it will be hiring for 1,400 positions at the facilities to remain open. There will be a net loss of 1,900 positions as a result of the company-wide consolidation. Employees still working at the Redmond call center when it closes will receive career coaching, severance and two months of paid health care coverage, T-Mobile said.

?They?ve been a good corporate citizen and have provided job opportunities for many people living in our city and in the surrounding cities,? states David Brandt, Redmond City Manager. ?While the closure will not directly impact the city?s general budget, the decision will be particularly difficult for many of our families, particularly those who have both the husband and wife working there.?

?While this is difficult news for the Redmond community and our hearts go out to the 363 people that work at T Mobile, EDCO and REDI have seen activity swell for new business prospects and several in this industry,? remarks Jon Stark, Manger of Redmond Economic Development Inc. ?The existing turnkey facility and the current available workforce are assets to help leverage these prospects in Redmond direction.? The city of Redmond will continue to work closely REDI and EDCO to identify potential leads and to get this employment and building vacancy filled as soon as possible.

T-Mobile opened up in Redmond in 2004 due to the City?s recruitment efforts and Enterprise Zone program.

?We are obviously very disappointed in learning of T-Mobile?s closure and the resulting layoffs in our community. However, we will continue to work towards providing programs and policies that are attractive to businesses and creating jobs in Redmond?, notes Redmond?s Community Development Director, Heather Richards.

?This is obviously a set-back for our community?s economic recovery, but Redmond is resilient and we will get through this,? remarked Brandt.

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