Clovis call center hiring hundreds of positions

FRESNO, Calif.

Alorica has hired more than 500 people over the last 18 months for its Clovis call center.

But the business has grown so fast, it needs almost 300 new workers, and a new office on Blythe near Shaw.

Alorica is a case of success breeding more success and more jobs.

But some say it's not the right type of success story to turn around the economic situation in the Valley.

The call center business is booming in Clovis.

The business originally known as Ryla, now known as Alorica, filled this building with people solving problems for customers of a major wireless service provider.

"We've gotten to over 500 employees in that location and we've really just outgrown the facility," said operations director John Foulk.

Construction is now underway on the next Alorica call center in Northwest Fresno.

The company is set to hire 275 new employees between now and this summer to fill the new office.

It shouldn't take long.

Alorica drew hundreds of applicants to a pair of job fairs over the last 18 months.

"We've really been able to fill positions easily in this location because of the amount of people looking for work and because of the quality of workers available in the area," said Foulk.

Most of the jobs only pay $9 an hour, but in a community with an unemployment rate near 17%, they're finding some highly qualified candidates -- filling all their positions on a short time frame.

Mike Dozier is not especially impressed.

"It really has a small impact," he said.

The director of the Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State says it's always good to add jobs.

But he says customer service jobs -- even 800 new ones in the span of 18 months -- aren't going to revive the Valley's sagging economy.

"These are the types of jobs that you need in a community as a secondary type of job," Dozier said. "What we need to do is fill it up with manufacturing jobs."

Dozier guesses most of the employees will not be the primary wage earners in their family, or they'll be working second jobs.

But for many who have lined up for call center work, getting a job -- any job -- is goal number one.

Here's another way to look at the impact of the new jobs: adding 275 new employees at Alorica won't even improve the Valley's unemployment rate by 0.1%.

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