News : Rockford Call Center to Close, 130 Will Lose Jobs
Rockford, IL Dec 3, 2014 -- A call center that received taxpayer-funded incentives to open in Rockford will close its doors in February, costing about 130 people their jobs.
Financial Management Systems, 4021 Morsay Drive, informed city officials that it plans to close its doors Feb. 1, according to Todd Cagnoni, the city’s director of community and economic development.
The Schaumburg-based company opened its doors to much fanfare in October 2009 after penning an initial development deal with Rockford. But that deal depended on the creation of 350 jobs. The city took away a portion of the funding in 2011 after it became clear the company was not growing as quickly as it originally anticipated. The incentives came from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant recovery funds.
City officials say they’re working to recapture a portion of the remaining money granted to the company. The grant depended on the call center creating and maintaining 200 jobs in Rockford for a minimum five years, with the majority of those jobs going to people who meet federal low-income requirements. The city is researching how long the company’s employment numbers were greater than 200 and how much money should be refunded from the grant, Cagnoni said.
The company’s closure will be painful for the families of 130 people who lost their jobs, but Rockford has other opportunities on the horizon to help fill the void, said Mark Podemski, vice president for development for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. That includes the new ServiCom call center opening in the former K’s Merchandise building on Mulford Road. ServiCom will employ close to 500 people, according to developer First Rockford Group.
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John Strandin of The Workforce Connection echoed Podemski’s sentiments about available opportunities on the horizon. He said The Workforce Connection can also provide help with job training in other industries.
Citywide, about 3,000 people work in call center operations, Podemski said, meaning Financial Management Systems employed about 4 percent of the total workforce in that sector. There are openings in existing call center operations as well, Podemski said.
"I don’t want to diminish the impact because, certainly, 130 jobs means a lot of families are impacted negatively right now," Podemski said. "But they have opportunities to continue in that industry almost immediately."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, December 4, 2014
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