ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Another major company announced it is setting up a call center in Albuquerque. It is at least the ninth company to open or expand a call center here in the past three years.
So why is Albuquerque attracting so many call centers but so few of the businesses that actually need call centers?
The city says it has a lot to offer when it comes to call centers, but a report shows Albuquerque also has skilled workers in many other areas that aren't quite taking advantage of.
From T-Mobile to Lowe’s, call centers based in Albuquerque have been setting up shop and expanding over the last few years.
“I am truly thrilled to be here to make this exciting announcement with all of you today,” said Doris Higginbotham, president of Canon ITS.
She announced Monday its call center will move to Albuquerque thanks to a skilled, bilingual workforce, mild weather and a nice incentive package.
Canon ITS will hire 150 workers over the next three years.
“This is a great boost to our state and in getting New Mexicans back to work,” said Gov. Susana Martinez.
But is it really?
A February Moody's report suggested Albuquerque is under-utilizing a talented workforce.
According to Moody’s, Albuquerque is home to a higher percentage of residents with graduate and professional degrees compared with neighboring cities like Tucson, El Paso and Salt Lake City.
KRQE News 13 talked with Albuquerque's economic development director to find out — why call centers?
“Call centers are the first level of technology,” said John Garcia. “It's a good start for people just getting out of college.”
Garcia said these jobs will require a college degree and Albuquerque has a lot to offer geographically.
“Canon is on the East Coast and they've had some disruptions in their business due to Hurricane Sandy,” Garcia said. “So what was always a problem for us, being geographically isolated in the West, now becomes a strength for us.”
Garcia admits the city's manufacturing economy is small, but they are working on it.
“Currently with the Balloon Fiesta here, we are currently hosting a lot of VIPs, corporate VIPs from around the country,” Garcia said.
He said, on top of targeting back-office operations like call centers, the city's looking into manufacturing for aerospace and aeronautics companies.
Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and the State of New Mexico each pitched in $200,000 to help Canon ITS with building renovations.
The call center is expect to open next spring.
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