From the Editor by David Staats: Treasure Valley call-center map lives on

September 10, 2013 

Staats, David

David Staats

SHAWN RAECKE — Shawn Raecke/ Idaho Statesman Buy Photo

The call-center stories we published three weeks ago in the Statesman and Business Insider are not finished yet. With readers’ help, we are still working on one piece of those stories long after publication: a map of Treasure Valley call centers.

You read, hear and see little about call centers in local news media. Most call centers avoid publicity except when they have job openings and must spread the word to fill them.

The silence is not humility. It is a business strategy. That becomes evident when reporters start calling with questions. Most call-center operators decline to answer — that is, if they return a reporter’s call. We took on this story this summer because Maximus gave us a news peg by announcing plans to hire 1,800 workers for call centers serving some of the upcoming health insurance exchanges. But Maximus hasn’t told us what its jobs pay or whether it is close to filling all those jobs. (One exception to the keep-your-mouth-shut rule is DirectTV, whose management was open to us.)

We looked around for a list of call centers in the Valley, with no luck. The state has one, but the Department of Labor told us we couldn’t see it. We have followed up with a written request to make it public.

Meanwhile, we decided to try crowd-sourcing. We began building an interactive online map with call centers we knew about, then asked readers to help finish it. The map still has gaps. If you can help us fill them, please email reporter Zach Kyle at zkyle@idahostatesman.com. Search for “map of Valley call centers” at IdahoStatesman.com.

The better the map, the better all of us who live here will understand call centers’ place in the Valley economy. To all of you assisting in this effort, thank you.

See the map here.

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dstaats@idahostatesman.com, @IDS_DavidStaats

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