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Major Layoffs in Guilford County, NC; Southwest Airlines Expands in San Antonio

NCO Customer Management, Inc. has announced that it will be permanently closing its Guilford County, N.C. call center and lay off 685 employees, including 514 customer service reps, 58 technical service reps and 47 team leasers. In a letter to the state, the company stated that the call center "is closing due to business needs, which are considerate of client mandated business decisions and requirements." The layoffs are expected to take place in stages starting May 7 and ending August 31, 2012. NCO Customer Management is part of the NCO Group, which provides business process outsourcing.

Southwest Airlines Co. has announced plans to add 322 new jobs to its customer service center in San Antonio, Texas. The new jobs are a result of the airline’s acquisition of AirTran in February 2011. The addition will increase the center’s employee count to nearly 800, and its current location offers no room for expansion. The airline is looking to invest $4 million in a new location for the customer service center, under a tentative incentive agreement with the city. The San Antonio City Council is scheduled to vote on the agreement this week; potentially providing up to $581,649 in incentives to Southwest Airlines over the next 10 years. In return, the airline would agree to add the 322 jobs by December 31, 2012 and maintain the 800-plus work force for at least a decade.

Wireless-phone-service provider Consumer Cellular will be adding 300 full-time customer service jobs when it opens a second call center in Phoenix, AZ. The Portland, Ore.-based company recently signed a partnership agreement with Sears and anticipates customer growth as a result. The new facility is scheduled to open in June. The minimum pay rate is $13 an hour, and all jobs include benefits such as health-insurance coverage and a 401(k) plan. Those interested in applying for a position must register via the company's Web site, consumercellular.com.

The New River Valley Center for Global Contact Services (GCS) abruptly closed its Pulaski, Va. call center last week, resulting in 38 layoffs. Center manager Robert Lynch stated that the closure was dependent on corporate decision to reduce costs. The Town of Pulaski is working with the county, New Rover Community College and the Virginia Employment Commission to help those affected by the layoffs.

CoastalCom is hiring 50 full-time, year-round employees at its Myrtle Beach, SC call center to accommodate a recent contract expansion. The company plans to more than double its workforce by June, adding 50 sales jobs with pay of $10 an hour plus commission and between five and 10 supervisors and administrators. Applicants can go to www.coastalcomsc.com or call the company’s employment hotline at 448-2940.

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