Verizon to Create 61 Jobs in Wise County, Va.

NORTON, Va. -- Verizon will open a new customer service center next summer in far southwest Virginia, creating 61 new jobs in the area. The announcement came today in a news conference with U.S. Rep Rick Boucher (D-Va.) participating.

The new Verizon Welcome Center will occupy an existing single-story building in the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park in Wise County. Verizon will lease 9,600 square feet, or nearly one-third of the building's floor space.

Employees at the Wise facility will verify credit information and addresses of new customers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Verizon already has similar centers in Charleston, W.Va., and Ewing, N.J.

"Southwest Virginia boasts a large pool of educated and highly motivated workers," said Robert Woltz, president of Verizon Virginia. "We have had great success with other offices we have opened in this part of Virginia, and we have every reason to believe we'll enjoy the same success here. I'm pleased that the first voice many of our new customers will hear will be that of a southwest Virginian."

"I am very pleased that Verizon has accepted my invitation to locate a new customer contact center in the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park," Boucher said. "The company has been most cooperative during the two years since I suggested the creation of the new center to Ivan Seidenberg (Verizon's CEO).

"Governor (Mark)Warner, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, the Wise County Industrial Development Authority and the Virginia Tobacco Commission have provided outstanding assistance throughout this project, and I commend the efforts of the state and local economic development personnel who assisted," Boucher said. "The 60 jobs Verizon is bringing to Wise County will enrich the county's economy and offer excellent employment opportunities for our region's residents."

Having a specialized center to handle credit information makes it easier for new customers to sign up for Verizon services. In the past, the company's sales and service consultants performed credit screening in addition to setting up the subscriber's new phone service. With the centers now doing the credit screening, the consultants can focus on helping new customers choose the telecommunications services that best fit their lifestyle.

The Wise center will employ 55 representatives, two clerks, a computer technician and three supervisors.

The jobs at the center will be predominantly full-time positions, with pay for the representatives starting at $18,000 a year. The jobs also include an excellent benefits package, with medical, dental, vision, 401(k) and pension plans.

Verizon will begin accepting applications for the new positions in April.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.0 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.