GRAYSON, Ky. (WSAZ) -- AT&T is adding 20 full-time customer service representatives at its East Park call center in Grayson.
Governor Steve Beshear made the announcement Wednesday.
The Grayson area call center, which opened in 2001, currently employs more than 500 people and handles inbound customer sales and service calls, such as billing issues and technical support, for customers across the country. AT&T plans to begin filling positions this month.
AT&T also is hiring an additional 38 full and part-time positions at retail stores in six Kentucky communities, including Bowling Green, Owensboro, Lexington, Louisville and Corbin.
But at industrial parks scattered around the region, it's the service and technology firms seeing the most growth.
WSAZ.com went to a major hiring announcement Monday morning where they're working to re-invent the wheel, so to speak.
In this case, the wheel stands for customer service call center jobs.
We found where incredible technology demands have sparked a bright new spin on the old boiler room toils.
Lesley Powell recently left a flight attendant's job to move home and be closer to her family in Flatwoods, Ky. When she was hired at the East Park AT&T call center eight months ago as one of 500 or so customer service reps there, expectations did not turn out as planned.
“I expected to be sitting here, taking call after call -- that it would be boring, but it was just the opposite," Powell said. "It's fun, and you can sell and make something extra."
With broadband and television accounts growing exponentially, Monday's 50 new call center hires make 150 new employees on staff so far this year.
The starting pay is $10 to $14 dollars an hour with full benefits and major incentives, if the employee chooses to focus on sales, too.
The call center director says the "game changers" with these customer service and sales positions highlight job diversity, job growth and some economic respect.
“People who are taken care of financially, with upward mobility, are better employees, and that's what we want," Director John Gross said.
A single mom with two college degrees, new hire Crystal Hammond says it has been minimum wage jobs for her the past decade -- until now.
“I sent out a lot of applications, a lot of web searches, going in person, and AT&T stuck out,” Hammond said.
“The more diverse we are, the more successful we can be,” Gross said.
The call center has been open 11 years. Aaron Wiles has fielded customer calls for more than 10 years, with no sign of burnout
“There are stressful times, but overall it is easy to assimilate and learn how to be an operator," Wiles said. "I’m suited for the position. I like to talk to people and help with their needs.”
They gave us free reign in the call center to talk to whomever.
It did not feel like a boiler room.
Workers said advancement is based on brains, drive and training. The new hires will take training classes for six weeks before they hit the phones. The director said he just put six new managers on the job -- all hired internally.