150 jobs coming to Fleming Island

By Eric Cravey Managing Editor
Posted 1/9/19

FLEMING ISLAND – There are 150 jobs coming to Fleming Island, but not necessarily 150 job openings.

AT&T announced Monday it is closing a call center in Syracuse, New York due to an expiring …

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150 jobs coming to Fleming Island

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – There are 150 jobs coming to Fleming Island, but not necessarily 150 job openings.

AT&T announced Monday it is closing a call center in Syracuse, New York due to an expiring lease and will consolidate those jobs to its existing Fleming Island call center on Town Center Boulevard. Employees of the New York center have been offered positions here in Clay County.

“There’s a job offer for virtually every affected employee and a relocation allowance. The handful of employees who are not being offered jobs in [Fleming Island] have a job offer guarantee that ensures they’ll be offered another job with the company,” said Jim Kimberly,

director of corporate communications for AT&T via email.

Kimberly also said AT&T will be hiring for open positions locally as well but did not give specific numbers of positions.

With the current Clay County unemployment rate at 2.8 percent, area officials say the transferred jobs as well as the new job openings are welcomed news.

“I think it’s good for the economy and Clay County and there will be positions in the community for trailing spouses,” said JJ Harris, president of the Clay County Economic Development Corp. “And with the quality of schools we have here, there’ll be better opportunities and we are welcoming community. We welcome everyone from every religion, background and walk of life.”

Candace Moody, vice president of communications at CareerSource Northeast Florida, said the current low unemployment rate has made it more challenging for employers to find qualified employees. She said any time there is a corporate relocation announcement, spouses and partners of the transitioning employees are immediately connected to various resources to aid in their job search.

“We offer to make sure spouses have labor market information and resources. We offer to sign them up emails with new job listings and connect them with networking opportunities for professionals who have bachelor’s degrees and above,” Moody said. “So, we do our best to make sure they are fully-informed and can make a decision.”

Moody and Harris both agree that the trailing spouse is always a concern for corporations when relocate employees, however, they agree that the local job market could use an injection of new potential employees.

“We’ve seen a lot of pressure on a lot of industries. The spouses would be welcomed due to the tight labor market. This announcement means we could get new members of the labor force,” she said.

“It’ll be good for the community,” Harris said.

In January 2014, AT&T shifted 64 of its customer service jobs from a Downtown Jacksonville office tower to its Fleming Island call center, however, the move did not create new jobs for Clay residents as the Jacksonville residents who held the jobs retained them here.

This time, however, the announcement is being welcomed differently.

“I think it’s always good news when jobs are coming in, not so good news when jobs are going out. We prefer it this way,” Moody said.

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