Lewiston call center to add 200 jobs

Posted Aug. 31, 2011, at 7:56 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 01, 2011, at 5:04 a.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — A call center plans to expand its operations in the city and add 200 jobs.

Affiliated Computer Services, which employs 417 people at its facility on East Avenue, unveiled the plan Tuesday afternoon. The new positions will push the number of employees to more than 600.

“It’s great news,” said Chip Morrison, president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce.

ACS’ Lewiston location offers call-in support primarily for the retail and health-care industries. It “needs new employees quickly,” the news release said. The center handles calls for several major national corporations, “household names,” said Morrison, who recorded a segment on ACS for a “Lewiston-Auburn Business Showcase” television program a few months ago.

“When somebody says, ‘Call this number,’” during a promotion for these corporations, “It would ring in Lewiston,” he said.

The company will be hiring supervisors and call-center agents to provide technical support and customer service for those industries, said Alex Charles, a spokesman for Xerox, the parent company of ACS.

ACS has 150 call centers internationally and handles more than 1 million customers each year, the release said. The Lewiston expansion is part of a nationwide plan to add 3,000 jobs in the next few months.

“Due to an existing client’s needs and the easy-to-find, exemplary educated labor force in Lewiston, ACS has decided to expand in the city,” Charles wrote in an email Tuesday.

ACS is one of several call centers that operate in Lewiston, Maine Department of Labor spokesman Adam Fisher said. The presence of functioning call centers in the city, including operations by L.L. Bean, TD Bank and Carbonite, make it easier for companies to establish or expand call centers here.

“Call centers can operate anywhere in the country, and anywhere in the world, really,” Fisher said. They aren’t bound to natural resources or shipping infrastructure, he said, but rather to a talented work force. Because there are other call centers in the area, there are plenty of trained, experienced people nearby for new or expanded operations to hire from, he said.

“The fact that (Lewiston has) been able to attract Carbonite, and that they’ve been able to attract this center that’s hiring, ACS, is a testament to the work force,” Fisher said.

ACS is “doing well here,” Morrison said. “They’re very up on the people in this area for their work ethic.”

Morrison said that while he was recording the segment on ACS, he found people who were very energized about their jobs. The company offers “great promotion opportunities,” he said.

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