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News : Madison Call Center Receives State Incentives to Add Jobs
April 16, 2014 -- Two state agencies will provide taxpayer dollars to help a Philippines-based outsourcing company expand a small Madison call center, based on its pledge to add 286 jobs in three years starting at $11 per hour plus commission.
SPi Global Madison, also known as Laserwords, provides call center services for Dish Network, selling Internet and television packages across the U.S. since last April with 40 employees at 4230 Argosy Court on Madison’s Far East Side. It is parent company SPi Global’s first U.S.-based call center.
The company is slated to receive tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and a grant from the Department of Workforce Development for worker training in sales and customer service.
The state money is tied to the jobs being created, and could be received over a period of three years, WEDC secretary Reed Hall said Monday during a tour of the center with Department of Workforce Development secretary Reggie Newson, who said the aid will help the company "quickly and nimbly ramp up" operations.
Under the agreement, Laserwords also has pledged to spend to remodel 10,000 square feet of existing space in the building to create new training areas and work space for the added employees, with funds earmarked for information technology equipment and facility improvements.
Mark Belcher, an SPi Global associate vice president, said the company searched throughout the country and chose Madison for its first U.S. call center because of the city’s educated workforce and the state incentive package.
He said the state aid was "instrumental" in the center’s rapid growth, noting he expected to make all the new hires in the next three to four months, far ahead of the three-year deadline.
Hall said WEDC rules require companies to pay at least $11 per hour to get taxpayer incentives. He noted Laserwords was paying more than that, counting commissions on top of the base wage of $11 an hour.
"It’s always a balance," Hall said about awarding state money to companies for creating relatively low-paying jobs. "We understand a business like that is competing in a globally competitive environment. That’s the market for this type of position."
Belcher said the average employee at Laserwords earns $15 an hour including commissions, equivalent to about $30,000 a year, plus benefits including health insurance, disability and three weeks paid vacation. He said nearly all of the existing employees are full time, adding that the top 10 percent can earn the equivalent of $50,000 to $75,000 during busy times.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About SPi Global:
SPi Global Solutions is one of the world's largest and most diversified Knowledge Process Outsourcing and Customer Interaction service providers in the industry in terms of clients, geographic presence, and capabilities with more than 14,000 dedicated employees globally. For more than 30 years, we have been offering Fortune 500 companies a full roster of high quality, innovative, end-to-end solutions. Our clients look to us for: 22a wide range of voice and non-voice BPO solutions 22the broadest global delivery network with 24 locations spanning North America, Europe, and Asia 22the ability to effectively combine deep domain knowledge with our core capabilities to deliver high quality, single source solutions that provide cost-efficiencies, scalability and exceptional customer care.
Published: Friday, April 18, 2014