September 11, 2013 —
A global company called Qualfon is considering the Village of Hancock as the site for a new call center. Qualfon serves the “business process outsourcing” for various businesses and also provides “interactive voice response” services. According to the company’s website (www.qualfon.com ) Qualfon has facilities in the Philippines, Guyana, Mexico, Costa Rica, the United States and China.
A Qualfon subsidiary called Data Control Group (DCG) is looking to open a new call center in the United States, and one of the places being considered is the former Becton Dickinson facility in Hancock, where, until 2002, medical devices were manufactured.
The facility, however, needs substantial renovation and expansion to be suitable for the needs of the company. To help keep other costs down, Delaware County Economic Development has applied for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Qualfon is also considering a location in Texas for the facility, and Senator Chuck Schumer has urged HUD to award the grants to Hancock. In a letter to HUD at the end of August, Schumer said that if Hancock were awarded the grants, that would pretty much insure that the call center would be constructed in Hancock.
“A new call center in the Becton Dickinson facility would go a long way toward healing the wound of the facility’s closing in 2002, and start a new chapter of job growth in Delaware County,” said Schumer. “This federal investment would help sign, seal, and deliver a new call center to Hancock, and ring in hundreds of good-paying jobs and work opportunities for residents in a community that desperately needs them.”
If Hancock is chosen as the site for the call center, the facility would be expanded and upgraded in two phases. In the first phase, the company would retrofit part of the facility that would allow for 200 workers to be employed. The second phase of expansion, to accommodate another 300 to 400 workers, would require additional funding.
Schumer said in a press release, “It is anticipated that 80% of the jobs created by this expansion will be made available to individuals with low to moderate incomes, for whom new job opportunities are extremely rare. To ensure that these two phases of expansion are possible, the proposal is seeking federal funds to help offset the substantial costs that would have to be undertaken by DCG to make the facility into a suitable call center.”
Schumer said Qualfon representatives have expressed interest in the New York location, given its proximity to New York City. Schumer also noted that while Qualfon call centers are primarily based overseas, there has been a recent shift toward moving jobs back to the United States, a trend which could be encouraged by the federal investment in an American facility.
According to an article in the online publication The Daily Beast, Schumer is not the only person who sees the trend toward moving more call center employees back into the United States. The article said that Mary Murcott, the CEO of the outsourcing firm Novo 1 based in Fort Worth, TX, “estimated that at one point, 30% of call center jobs for high-tech firms were offshore; now, thanks to onshoring, or insourcing, it’s more like 12%.”