New call center opens with hope of future job growth

NEW BEDFORD — UpSource Inc. officially launched its North End call center Tuesday with the goal of employing nearly 100 workers by early next year.
The company provides outsourced call center services to a variety of industries, handling customer service and sales calls retail, health care and telecommunications businesses. State and local officials attended a formal grand opening at its 10,000-square-foot Belleville Avenue center, which is located in mill space owned by Joseph Abboud Manufacturing.
While UpSource competes against companies around the world, it strives to offer good wages and benefits rather than follow the trend toward call center “sweatshops,” said Michael Ansara, a founder of the company.
“We are part of a global economy right here in New Bedford,” he said during the ceremony. “But it doesn’t mean we need to do the race to the bottom.”
UpSource currently employs about 60 people and aims to increase its staff to 75 by October and 90 in January. The company, which also operates call centers in Nova Scotia and Oklahoma, has a total of 380 employees, with an average base pay of $12.50 an hour, plus benefits, Ansara added afterwards.
UpSource acquired the local call center, which was previously located in the former AT&T building on Mill Road in Fairhaven, in November 2010. It worked with city officials to find a location in New Bedford and considered three other sites before selecting the new one.
The company had received about $350,000 in loans for equipment and working capital from MassDevelopment, a quasi-public state agency, and the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
Officials welcomed the call center as both a job creator and a good reuse for old mill space.
Matthew Morrissey, executive director of the NBEDC, said the call center represented the first redevelopment of mill space in the upper harbor business district into a high-end back-office operation, and it could pave the way for future projects. “We really need firsts to demonstrate” that a new approach to redevelopment can work, Morrissey said.
Mayor Jon Mitchell said during the ceremony the new center, along with nearby residential and commercial projects, serves as an example of business success in the near North End mill area. “This is a part of town that is really growing,” Mitchell said. “It is growing as an economic center.”
By Brian Boyd
bboyd@s-t.com
June 13, 2012 12:00 AM
Source URL: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120613/NEWS05/206130313

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