What's Next For Concentrix, WorkersPosted: Updated:
By mid-summer the massive space, now occupied by Concentrix, will be empty. Jefferson County Legislator Chair Scott Gray already has ideas of what to do next.
"JCC might be a good fit," said Gray.
Jefferson Community College has funding to build a new tech space and wants to put that campus in downtown Watertown.
Gray says another possible use for the building is to accommodate the expansion of the justice system. With state laws like Raise The Age, the district attorney, public defender, and probation offices will need room to grow.
"It's just on the heels of that announcement and I'm not saying we are going to rush in there and take control of that property. Certainly if there is any private sector reuse of the building that would be first and foremost," said Gray.
The Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency has owned the call center building for more than ten years. While disappointed with Concentrix's decision to close, Don Alexander, head of the development agency, says he has already reached out to institutions in the community who say they want to expand or move.
"We are taking as many steps as quickly as we possibly can to either re-purpose the building or reuse that wonderful staff that is their staff and management to try and find another purpose for that building," said Alexander.
A source with direct knowledge tells 7 News that the state's recent increases in minimum wage likely played a role in the decision by Concentrix to close the call center. At the very least, the company's payroll was $5.5 million.
"The impacts are substantial. The loss of the employment opportunities we have, the loss of the payrolls we have. The loss of people working downtown is a major impact," said Gray.
Concentrix workers in Watertown aren't the only ones losing their jobs. The Associated Press says that 800 employees are being laid off from the Concentrix call center in Tucson Arizona.
Arizona and New York are states where the minimum wage increased to around $11 an hour at the beginning of 2019.
Cheryl Mayforth of The WorkPlace says she is optimistic that the 244 who work at the call center can find another job.
"We have employers just screaming for employees so if there is ever a good time to be laid off, this is probably the time," she said.
Mayforth wants employees at Concentrix to know The WorkPlace will help them update their resumes and prepare them to find a new job with workshops.
Workshops will be held at the Jefferson County Office Building, second floor conference room on Thursday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and again next Thursday, April 25, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
For more information, call 315-769-3596, extension 114.