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PENN YAN—On Jan. 22, Empire State Development (EDC) announced Data Listing Services, LLC, doing business as The Connection, will establish a call center in Penn Yan and create 450 new local jobs.
The business will be in the former Iron Age building in the North Avenue Industrial Park which is in the Empire Zone. Empire Zone coordinator Ryan Hallings said, “We’re obviously very excited with the opportunity. It will have a significant impact on our economy. Steve Griffin has worked tirelessly to bring them here.” Griffin is CEO of Finger Lakes Economic Development Center.
Newly-elected chairman of the Yates County Legislature, Taylor Fitch, commented, “It’s a great thing for Yates County and a great boost for our community.” Amy Miller at the local Workforce Development Center worked closely with Ontario County Workforce Development. The two organizations held job fairs in Penn Yan, Geneva and Canandaigua which drew hundreds of interested individuals. Fitch said as a result the company decided to come here. He said “There was a lot of hard work and negotiations.”
In their press release, EDC noted The Connection will invest approximately $4.5 million in the new call center and create 450 jobs. Gov. David Paterson commented, “As part of my State of the State address, I stated that my administration will be expanding New York’s back office opportunities by making Upstate the preferred back office for corporate America. The Connection’s investment throughout Upstate and now expansion to Penn Yan, moves this vision along exponentially.”
Data Listing Services, LLC’s website states the company is a live operator inbound and outbound call center that can handle one million calls a year. The company was established in 1981 and is one of the largest of its type in the country. They operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, servicing clients in the consumer products, government, industrial, retail and wireless telecommunication businesses, among others. Currently they have five call centers, one in Minnesota, another in New Mexico and two in Western New York in Olean and Jamestown.
The workers at the Penn Yan facility will be hired in three phases, 150 employees at a time with the first phase of hiring completed during the first quarter of this year. The final phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2011. Hallings said he thought the pay scale would be consistent with or better than entry level rates and that management positions would pay well.
After Fitch was elected legislature chair he told the group one of the most important things in Yates County is jobs. After he commented on the good economic news, Fitch added, “There’s a lot going on here.”
The Connection call center coming to Penn Yan will be handling tech support calls for an Internet/WiFi company.
Harvey Johnson, vice president of call center operations for The Connection, said he could not name the company, but that it was a global Internet company. He said employees would be fielding mostly inbound calls.
Johnson said the call center will take tech support and retention calls. Initially, the call center will operate 12 hours a day. He said this could grow to 18 hours a day, depending on the company.
Currently, The Connection is hiring the Penn Yan center’s management team, including call center manager, program supervisor, and human resources manager. That will be the first of three hiring phases. Johnson said the workers answering the phones will begin training in the first week of April. He said training will last two weeks and be done at the Olean call center. He explained workers will have paid hotel rooms to stay in and can go home on the weekends.
The Connection’s Olean call center opened in 2008, creating 300 jobs. Mary George, city of Olean’s community development coordinator, said The Connection is continuing to recruit in the area. She said the company has brought in a number of workers from northern Pennsylvania when the call center first opened. She explained that with more workers coming into the area, home ownership funds became available to workers who wanted to live in the area.
George added that when the call center was first opened two years ago, local businesses were concerned workers would be taken from them in the job pool. However, she said she hasn’t heard any negative comments now. In fact, the Olean call center is planning on expanding the call center’s job force by 200 more employees.
Like Penn Yan’s future site, Olean’s call center is mostly for inbound calls. George said the call center handles Internet services and student loans. She added having the call center in Olean was a “spring board” for a project to create parking at a nearby Dresser-Rand property for workers.

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