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Qwest expanding South Dakota call center
By The Associated Press
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, April 14, 2006

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Qwest Communications has announced plans to add 120 jobs as it expands its sales and service center in downtown Sioux Falls.  The call center already has 280 customer service workers who handle calls from a 14-state region.

The center was opened a year ago and has fielded 1 million calls since then.

"We’re proud to be part of this community and continuing to grow jobs here in this state," said Larry Toll, president of Qwest South Dakota.

Construction on office space for the additional workers is expected to be done by the end of July.

Many of the employees will belong to Communications Workers of America Local 7500 and start at $10 per hour after a 12-week training period.

Gov. Mike Rounds said South Dakota has an eager work force and a friendly business climate — factors that he said contributed to Qwest’s expansion plans.

"The real winners here are the employees," Rounds said. "There’s no place like South Dakota, and we have employees that already prove that on a regular basis. (Qwest) took a chance, and they’ve proved they can be successful."

The company is hiring and training employees now.  The Sioux Falls workers answer sales and service calls.

Last year, Qwest got an incentive package from the state worth $1.1 million to help defray an estimated $2 million in startup costs for the center.  The state again has promised $168,000 in Workforce Development Program funds to help with new employee training.

"It’s an extension of what we did last year," Rounds said.

Qwest, based in Denver, used to have a company in Texas handle the chore but officials say it’s been more profitable running its own call center in Sioux Falls.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/tech/article/0,2777,DRMN_23910_4621531,00.html