Gov. Norm Bangerter announced Monday that J.C. Penney Co. will hire 800 full- and part-time employees at a catalog telemarketing center in north Bountiful.
The second floor of the J.C. Penney store at 101 W. 16th North will house the operation. The Bountiful center will be the 16th such facility operated by the firm, which takes in about $6.4 million per day in catalog sales."We love it. We are really looking forward to it. It will be a boon to our economy. They will pay fairly good wages and full benefits," Davis Commissioner William L. Peters said.
Bangerter, speaking at a luncheon of company officials in Bountiful Monday, said the announcement was further evidence that Utah is becoming a telemarketing center.
The Penney's operation will join NICE Corp., Automated Phone Exchange, Anser-Fone Inc., Fidelity Investments, Eastern and Delta airlines and American Express as telemarketers locating in the state in recent years.
Rick Mayfield, Davis economic development director who handled most of the negotiations with Penney's, said that the Bountiful site was in competition with a location in Tucson. The center will employ 800 people for 25-30 hours a week and provide full insurance benefits.
Bangerter and Peters said the companies were attracted to Utah by the state'slarge and productive labor force.
"I would think, one of the reasons they chose Utah was the contributing factors of the work force, education level and work ethic," Peters said.> According to Mayfield, about 95 percent of an employee's work would involve answering incoming calls from J.C. Penny catalog stores and servicing other toll-free telephone number accounts. Very little, if any, of the work will involve phone soliciting.
"We are pleased they are coming to Bountiful and feel it will be an economic asset to area. Also since Bountiful was home to the (nation's) second J.C. Penney store we feel it is appropriate," said Haven R. Burningham, director of the Bountiful Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Penney's center, which will be fully developed by 1991, will be similar to one Sears recently announced is scheduled to open in Provo. Wages are expected to be similar to those at Penney's telemarketing center in Scranton, Pa. There, employees receive a starting wage of $5 per hour. Officials there projected wages to increase by more than $2.50 hourly over a two-year period.
A number of people were scheduled to be transferred into the center, but the bulk of employees will be drawn from the local labor force. Already, the Bountiful Area Chamber of Commerce has received about 30 calls from people relocating to the state.
The governor has said the state needs to create up to 25,000 jobs yearly to keep pace with the number of young people graduating from school and entering the work force. Young people have been leaving the state in recent years in search of jobs, causing the state to lose more people than it gained since 1980.