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What options are there for Verizon employees after call center closes?

October 13, 2016 06:36 PM

Wednesday, Verizon Wireless broke the news to employees that it would be closing down its call center in Henrietta as part of a series of moves to consolidate.

The company said it is offering to help relocate "eligible employees" for jobs at other call centers. But Thursday, we looked at other job opportunities that could be available for the more than 600 employees at the call center.

The employees are still absorbing the news that this call center will be closing in January. But they do have three months to try to find work elsewhere -- and the silver lining is -- companies are already expressing interest in the workforce.

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"Very emotional," says employee Giuseppe Cosentino. "Everybody here at Verizon, we're like a big family. So everybody's holding on to each other and helping each other out -- lot of tears were shed."

Cosentino has worked at the Verizon Wireless call center in Henrietta for 2.5 years. He wants to stay in town near family, but knows that might not be an option.

"Hopefully store locations, but everybody's probably going to apply for that," says Cosentino. "Moving down south, picking up your stuff where you left off -- It's just hard."

Wednesday, without warning, Verizon Wireless announced it would close the call center -- affecting about 645 employees.

"It was a total surprise," says Henrietta Town Supervisor Jack Moore. "We had no heads up at all."

Moore says the job losses will have a ripple effect.

"There's a lot of residents that work there," says Moore. "There's a lot of employees that visit other businesses here in Henrietta during the course of the work day."

Wednesday, the governor directed the labor department to deploy a "rapid response" team to help employees during the transition: assisting is RochesterWorks.

"We ask the company to invite us in and meet with the employees at the workplace," says RochesterWorks! Executive Director Peter Pecor. "So this way they can get started with registering with the system, getting involved with the job search, developing resumes."

There are other large call center operations in town. Maximus just began operations in Gates, holding job fairs over the summer to hire 2,000 workers. A spokesperson for the company told us they are still in the process of hiring a couple hundred positions. Pecor says he's optimistic.

"I was talking with my partner in the Department of Labor and she didn't have specific names, but says she's been contacted by three different companies now to be able to see if they can schedule some type of recruitment," says Pecor.

There may be an opportunity for employees to remain within this same office park. The Henrietta town supervisor tells us Charter Communications -- which merged with Time Warner Cable -- is in the process of putting a call center just a few buildings down.

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