On Wednesday, Sept. 4, state and local officials gathered at the Perry County Public Library to celebrate the announcement of a partnership between Intuit and SYKES, which is expected to bring a minimum of 300 full-time customer service jobs to Perry County’s Coal Fields Regional Industrial Park.
In June of this year, after more than a decade serving the area, SYKES announced layoffs of 179 employees at the Hazard location due to the loss of a prior client. Company leaders quickly began working with Intuit leadership to establish an alternative for the operation, resulting in yesterday’s announcement.
“The old saying that iron sharpens iron, well this is a room full of iron with a whole lot of people,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “You’re exactly why Intuit is here, exactly why SYKES has been here,” he said to the SYKES employees present.
“There have been tremendous opportunities, tremendous jobs created here for many years, but then there was a loss of a contract and a belief that suddenly there was going to be a movement out of this community of opportunity,” said Bevin. He said the dedication of the SYKES employees helped to bring this partnership to life.
“The loyalty that you will find, the work ethic that you will find, the gratitude that you will find in this neck of the woods is unlike most places in America,” said Bevin. “This is an incredible announcement for the workforce in Southeast Kentucky. To create this partnership required the support of all parties involved, and truly highlights the efforts throughout the commonwealth to ensure economic success. We extend our gratitude to Intuit and SYKES, and everyone who helped make today’s announcement possible.”
The SYKES and Intuit partnership began in 2012, but did not come into this region until more recently. Over the last seven years, officials said, the relationship has grown and prospered with SYKES serving as one of Intuit’s ecosystem-wide partners, supporting its global footprint and all business units under Intuit Customer Success. In 2016, Intuit partnered with SYKES to open its first Prosperity Hub in Wise, Virgina. Now, Intuit representatives have announced that they are partnering with the Hazard SYKES to bring more jobs to Perry County. With the addition of the Hazard site, SYKES now supports Intuit’s customers at six brick and mortar locations, as well as with a team from SYKESHome, said officials.
Hazard Mayor Donald “Happy” Mobellini said he was grateful for the commitment of both companies to the region.
“This is an exciting time in Perry County. We have a ton of projects going on right now,” said Mobelini. “We’re moving forward.
“Intuit is a tremendous and well-known company,” said Mobelini. “I personally wish to welcome them into the community and thank them for choosing Hazard-Perry County for this development.”
Perry County Judge-Executive Scott Alexander said he looks forward to even more growth in the future.
“Our priority from day one has been jobs. We’ve got to create jobs and create a sustainable tax base, so that Eastern Kentucky can make it,” said Alexander. “It makes no difference what county it is in Eastern Kentucky, as long as we’re getting jobs here. There’s no magic wand that is going to solve eastern Kentucky, there’s no way we can subsidize our way out of a problem we face. The only way to get better is with great jobs.
“Our team, along with the Intuit/SYKES team, found a perfect opportunity for their latest Prosperity Hub here in Perry County,” Alexander said. “We are grateful for the new jobs and partnerships that Intuit will bring our region.”
President and CEO of SYKES, Inc. Chuck Sykes said that he is proud of his employees and that their job is hard, having to work with multiple systems while remaining courteous to customers, which further shows their drive. “It is not an easy job,” said Sykes. “If you hire leaders that embrace your values, you get those leaders placed around the world and they perpetuate that.”
SYKES, he said, has a culture of caring.
“We care about the clients, we care about our business, we care about our craft, we care about our people, we care about our communities that we operate in,” said Sykes.
“At Intuit, we believe everyone has the opportunity to prosper and we can only achieve that together with our partners,” said Intuit Executive Vice President of Customer Success Mark Notarainni. “By teaming up with SYKES and the Hazard community, we’ll deliver amazing customer experiences and have an incredible impact on the community around us.
“One critical part of our culture at Intuit is what we call team sport,” said Notarainni. “We believe in that thoroughly, it’s been in our culture for years,” he continued. “We all have a role to play in mass success.”
The partnership includes the renovation of a facility in the Coal Fields Regional Industrial Park that has been home to SYKES since 2007. Intuit officials said they plan to hire 150 people by the end of 2019 and an additional 150 by the end of 2020. The operation will support Intuit’s products and services. SYKES will be responsible for hiring and operations of staff. Company leaders anticipate renovations to begin in the coming weeks, with the facility operational by January 2020.
Once running, the company will begin pay at $12 per hour, and will offer many benefits including health, vision and dental coverage, 401 K, pay-for-performance incentives, two weeks PTO per year and multiple opportunities for personal growth and advancements. Additionally, after one year of employment, employees are eligible to receive free college or tuition reimbursement up to $5,250.