Nearly a dozen employers from across the nation were able to see up close and in person how Teleworks USA has helped expand the telework industry into Eastern Kentucky during a three-day Teleworks Open House Tour hosted April 16-18.
The group, which included representatives from Amazon, BroadPath Healthcare Solutions, Delegate Solutions, FlexJobs, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Itelbpo, Nimble Connect, Sutherland, Sykes, VIPKID, and Williams-Sonoma, visited four of the eight Teleworks USA Hub locations (Annville, Harlan, Hazard, and Pike County) during the event.
“We’re hosting 11 national and global telework companies, and we have them coming in here to see, experience, and be a part of what Teleworks USA has done and is doing in Eastern Kentucky,” said Michael Cornett, EKCEP director of agency expansion and Teleworks USA. “We want to partner with these companies, impress them with the facilities we have in this region, impress them with our region’s talented workforce, and get them enthusiastic about what we do.
“The more companies we partner with, the more remote-work job opportunities for Eastern Kentuckians will result,” Cornett added.
The week kicked off with a grand employer meet-and-greet at the Kentucky Career Center JobSight in Hazard on Monday, April 16, after which the group toured the Hazard Teleworks Hub and traveled to Pike County to tour the Teleworks Hub there. On Tuesday, the group continued with a tour of the Harlan Teleworks Hub in the morning and the Annville Teleworks Hub in the afternoon.
During the Teleworks Hub tours, representatives experienced the teleworking environments prospective employees will be working from as they utilize the secure, equipped Hub spaces prior to transitioning to a work-at-home setting.
The week’s activities were made possible through Teleworks USA’s partnership with FlexJobs, the nation’s leading online service for professionals seeking remote, flexible employment. After meeting FlexJobs’ top officials last September at a national conference in Washington, D.C., Cornett and Teleworks USA staff began multiple conversations with a host of FlexJobs partner companies with whom Teleworks USA could partner to merge those companies’ workforce needs with Eastern Kentucky’s need for remote work jobs.
“Teleworks USA’s workshops can be tailored for specific companies, along with their temporary Hub space for teleworkers, and that is ideal for telework employers looking for quality employees,” said Mike Gutman, director of marketing for FlexJobs. “Their model is very attractive to us as a partner, because we know the power that remote work has to improve the quality of people’s lives in economically distressed areas.”
One of the main things companies visiting Eastern Kentucky this week are going to take away will be the quality and work ethic of the people Teleworks USA serves within the region, added Cornett.
“These companies get to see that dedication in action at each different Hub location we take them to,” he said.
"The dedication, the willingness to learn, and the adaptability of the workforce here, it’s just absolutely fantastic,” said Susan Hopkins, associate vice president of North American recruitment for Sutherland, one of the 11 companies touring the region. "They don't want to go elsewhere to find positions, so I think that’s absolutely amazing, and we want to be able to continue that partnership.”
Since its inception in 2012, Teleworks USA has opened Teleworks Hubs in Annville, Beattyville, Booneville, Harlan, Hazard, Hyden, Louisa, and Pike County. Since January 2015, those Hubs have helped bring jobs to nearly 1,500 Eastern Kentuckians, with positions carrying an estimated $30 million in economic impact in wages to the region.
“Based on that impact, it’s very easy for us to say that we’ve done a good job and we’re satisfied, but that’s not what we want to do,” Cornett said. “By hosting all these companies from across the country, we’re searching for new hiring commitments to keep growing and increasing our capacity to serve even more of our region’s willing, able, and adaptable workforce. The only way to do that is to lock in partnerships with new companies that result in new job opportunities.”
The week’s activities were also made possible in part due to a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), as well as sponsorships from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR).
Teleworks USA, an initiative of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) identifies and develops legitimate remote-work job opportunities with multiple national and global companies. Teleworks USA’s team of eight expert Teleworks Hub Managers also helps prepare people for the jobs by upskilling them in customer service and technical support workshops, helping them craft strong résumés and hone their interviewing skills, and assisting them in applying for available remote-work positions they can work within their homes or one of eight Teleworks Hubs in the region.
For more information about Teleworks USA, log on to teleworksusa.com to find a Hub near you.
Click here to view a Flickr gallery of images from the week's events.
EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves the citizens of 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services, administers the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) program for dislocated coal miners and their spouses, and is the White House-designated lead organization for the federal TechHire designation for Eastern Kentucky. Learn more about us at http://www.ekcep.org, http://www.jobsight.org and http://www.facebook.com/ekcep.