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Call center’s expansion shows stimulus works, politicians say

Published: Sat, October 30, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Grace Wyler



The expansion of a call center that will bring up to 700 new jobs to downtown Youngstown is evidence of federal stimulus dollars at work, elected officials said Friday.

Just one year after VXI Global Solutions opened its call center at 20 Federal Place, the Los Angeles- based company has expanded operations with a new office on the building’s fifth floor.

The company, which employs nearly 600 workers on the building’s fourth floor, plans to hire up to 700 workers to fill its additional capacity, John Alaburda, regional vice president of operations, said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

The expansion is a $2.7 million investment, the bulk of which was paid for with a $2 million loan from the city. The city also provided $650,000 in cash and utility improvements as an incentive for the project.

The loan must be paid back within 12 months at an interest rate of 0.25 percent.

Local officials toured the new facility, praising VXI for its investment in the city’s work force.

“There are few things we can do right now that are more important than expanding economic opportunities in Youngstown,” Mayor Jay Williams said at the event. “This shows that the stimulus program is working — the stimulus facilitated the creation of more than 500 jobs in a very short amount of time.”

Although no stimulus funds were used for the expansion, the city gave VXI $600,000 to launch its initial operations last year. The company also received more than $700,000 from the state’s job-creation tax credit for the $4 million project.

The addition of 1,300 new employees to downtown’s work force within two years of the initial public investment shows how effectively stimulus funds can be used, said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th.

“I don’t think there is a community in this country that has used stimulus money better than Youngstown,” Ryan said. “The bottom line is that we are making this thing work.”

Ryan, frontrunner in the 17th District election campaign, lent his political capital to U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson of St. Clairsville, D-6th, at the event, emphasizing the pair’s cooperative efforts to bring jobs back to the Valley.

Wilson has struggled to defend his vote for the stimulus bill as he fights for a third term against Republican Bill Johnson.

“We are sending a message that the Mahoning Valley is open for business,” Wilson said about VXI’s investment.

VXI already has begun hiring and training workers to fill its new space, said Justin Payne, senior director for the Youngstown office. Hourly pay starts between $9 and $10.


1ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

This article is poorly written. The headline and first paragraph mentions stimulus funding, but the eighth paragraph says no stimulus money was used. So if no stimulus money was used how can this be an example of how well stimulus works?

Maybe if one of the YSU interns had written this article it would have made sense.

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2lizhill2(7 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

They got stimulus money to come here and start the business. The business is successful enough, partly because of stimulus money, to expand. Therefore, stimulus money helped bring a successful business to the Valley. Isn't it good that it could afford to expand without more stimulus? That's how it's supposed to work.

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3author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

A city which can't protect its citizens in the neighborhoods comes up with $2 million for a call center in the downtown area. Thats creating jobs Mahoning County style!

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4ysu4ever(8 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

OK...let's talk about this great place...IT"S A SWEATSHOP!

There are no sick days or sick excuses, miss a day and you get written up. There is no vacation time for workers, so it's show up, work your hours, or get fired.

Bonuses...what a joke...if you miss a whole day for any reason, your bonus is hit, if you flub on a call (and the calls are graded by people in the Phillipines), your bonus is hit, if you help someone out on the phones, but your calls average more than 12.5 minutes, your bonus is hit.

If a sales agent misinforms (lies) to a customer, customer service can't help them, and finally you have to disconnect their services as they are just fed up, your bonus suffers, and the other two get off...real fair, right?

This company is owned by the Chinese, the same Chinese who took the good jobs from this country, and now give us this.

One final thing to ponder...benefits...if you are married, have one or more kids, and want to sign up for the health benefits, it will cost you only a little under $700 a month. If you base that on a $9 an hour job, with federal, state and Youngstown city taxes, you work for free for one pay period a month.

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago



If you are seeking a vibrant and dynamic work experience, then VXI is a great place to start. At VXI high value is placed on an open environment, teamwork, and a culture of constant learning.

As a global company experiencing high growth in a competitive industry, VXI is always looking for quality, committed talent to join our family. We have a range of opportunities in areas such as Customer Service, Training, Operations, Engineering and Information Technology.

For jobs located in the United States, please send a resume or brief introductory letter to one of the locations below telling us about you and your skills. Make sure to include the department or position for which you are interested in the subject line.

CALIFORNIA - for information on CURRENT POSITIONS, click HERE



For jobs located in the PHILIPPINES, please submit an application here. http://www.vxi.com/phjobs

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6TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Y-town Steel Man, in all seriousness, thank you for addressing the blatant misnomers and basic stupidity associated with this article. When I read logical posts that shows people are actually reading the articles and thinking for themselves, it gives me hope.

Liz Hill, what part of "Although no stimulus funds were used for the expansion," don't you understand?

At what point does this article state that any "stimulus" funds were involved with any of this? A hack article written by, well, hacks.

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7paulydel(1607 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Stimulus is costing us for generations to come and has had no real effect on the economy as you all can see. November 2nd is fast aproaching thank God.

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8MFC997(261 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The best part is the politicians lying right along thru the article ... priceless .... maybe that's why so many will be retired by the voters on Nov. 2nd ...

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9ront(119 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

i have a hard time understanding the uproar about gm getting tax dollars to create and/or save jobs paying $ 14 per hour and up; but no one says much about companies like vxi.

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10cambridge(4134 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

It's funny how the republican politicians that were against the stimulus were more than happy to take credit for the jobs and projects.


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11georgejeanie(1527 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Wow, jobs starting at a little over minimum wage. How is anyone going to get to this great job in that great downtown? Gasoline near $3 a gallon, pay to park, or take a bus with a chance to get panhandled, or worse. Ryan and wilson with their cadillac healthcare plans and all the other perks available to them and the rest of their government cronies, please give us more industrial jobs, but that will not happen.

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12Billybob21(96 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

This is such a joke. Vxi is raping the mahoning valley how nice. My fiance as well as 30 other people just recently got laid off from Vxi. Then a couple weeks later they are hiring when the laid off people call to find out when they will be called back to work there either put on hold and then hung up on or the human resouces manager says vxi is not hiring at this time.

I also worked there one day they said everyone was doing great just not good enough to bonus nobody bonused they make it impossible to get the bonus. then the next day they threaten to lay you off.

It is easy to see what vxi is pulling they hire 500 people get the gov and city money then lay the workers off or fire them for no reason then go back to the state or govt and say they will hire more people and consider it expanding if then get more money.

Oh i almost forgot dont try and call the mayor or city of youngstown on this matter they will just tell you they just give out the money they dont control how many people or what vxi does with its employees. And the mayor of youngstown you can never speak to him you just get transfered to his voicemail where he never returns your calls.

Thank you VXI for Raping the mahoning valley!!

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13southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

It appears that minimum wage jobs abound these days, yet, who can really take care of his or her family on poverty wages?

VXI Global Solutions should be ashamed if the comments made by Billybob21 are accurate.

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14YTownPride77(1 comment)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I was hired to work for a company named Verizon FiOs and everyday I called existing Verizon FiOs and spoke with very few satisfied customers. The director of operations that controlled both the California call center which is based out of Los Angeles and YTown by the name of Armando flew all the way to Youngstown to encourage us so we could make our work so much better, told us all his life story about how he went from working at McDonalds to how he now has a boat, big house, and so on and so forth to being a director of operations to make us feel so much better about what we were doing. After THAT, he brought in his best performing representatives from L.A. to help us on the phones and our success did not improve much, unfortunately. Armando that warned us that the L.A. call center in California was doing much better and they "would hate to pull out of Youngstown due to poor performance because we want to keep jobs here and improve the economy for Youngstown." Blah blah blah. 35 people including myself were laid off and not given any reason at all. I have spoken with with (we'll call her "D") D with human resources at VXI, I have spoken with the supervisors including my own that I went and spoke with the day after learning I got laid off, and even spoke with the so called economic development department to try and gain a reason for our getting laid off. None could provide any reason whatsoever. The day I found out we got laid off, one of the supervisors sent a text message to my fiance's cell phone asking if I knew I had gotten laid off to which I gave a stunning "no." That wonderful supervisor also lost her job and another supervisor that ALWAYS encouraged, helped us to make our performances better. I called Mayor Williams's office to get turned away twice and was referred to the economic development dept. then when I spoke with THAT dept., was told VXI "must have had their own reasons for letting the employees go and you'll need to talk to them," which I had already done. Then when attending the job fair, I saw the same human resources manager that hired me, she ignored me and had nothing to say. VXI Global Solutions is a complete crock, nothing but a waste of space on a resume, and not worth ANYONE'S time. They hire new people to get the money they need in order to run then lay people off. And not even yet have they expanded to the 5th floor. That is a complete lie. Plus, I have yet to hear about any people that make even near $14 an hour because the highest paycheck I have ever heard of anyone having is about $1500, but that was someone working under Directv that proudly earned that money from bonusing, which you REALLY have to struggle in order to do. So before Tim Ryan and the city of Youngstown go simply handing VXI over money, this company needs to be looked into further. I would hate to see all the local television stations get involved let alone former employees because that can certainly be made possible.

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15cambridge(4134 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Maybe the reasons minimum wage jobs are the only one's available are because employers read the posts on on the Vindy where the locals complain about their neighbors making too much money and having too many benefits like health care and a pension.

If employers see that the local community is against unions, a living wage and dignity in the work place why would the offer it?

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16Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

"And the mayor of youngstown you can never speak to him you just get transfered to his voicemail where he never returns your calls."

Jay doesn't like criticism !

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17Billybob21(96 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

What is someone afraid the truths going to come out they hurried up and took this off vindy.com but the anti jim traficant stuff stays on the main page for days. Come on vindy get your stuff together.

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18Billybob21(96 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

VXI is planning a $2.7 million expansion project.
City council has approved legislation to lend $2 million to the company for up to 12 months with an interest rate of 0.25 of a percent as well as give $650,000 — $350,000 in cash and $300,000 in utility improvements — to VXI to get the company to expand here."

VXI Is getting everything handed to them

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