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Sprint adds details on call center

Sprint Corp. released new details Tuesday about its plans for a Medford call center.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based company plans to open in April with about 50 employees, growing to the equivalent of 250 full-time jobs by the end of next year.

Sprint will hire 350 to 400 people -- some working part time and others full time -- rather than 250 full-timers, Sprint's Bob Thompson said, clarifying Monday's announcement. Thompson is president of the consumer markets group for Sprint's local telecommunications division. He said the company has not determined what the mix of full- and part-time employees would be.

The company offers benefits to both full- and part-time employees on a graduated scale. For example, an employee working 30 hours a week would get a 75-percent benefits package. In addition to health benefits, the company offers educational assistance of up to $5,200 a year for undergraduate study.

We are all about making it a great place to work, Thompson said.

Wages for the call center workers -- who will do telemarketing and local service sales -- begin at $8 an hour. Employees are paid an hourly commission rate on top of that. Sprint says the target commission is at least $2.25 an hour, which would raise hourly

pay to $10.25. Thompson said Sprint's workers average $2.95 an hour in commissions.

In addition to the call center workers, Sprint will hire about a dozen supervisors who will be paid $40,000 to $50,000 a year in salary and commissions. It will hire about six quality assurance workers at $25,000 to $30,000 a year.

The Medford office of the Oregon Employment Department is coordinating Sprint's hiring efforts.

The call center will located in the South Gateway shopping center building that formerly housed Ernst Home Center. It will operate from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sprint expects to spend $6 million to renovate the former retail space. The company plans to occupy 42,000 square feet right away and could expand into the building's remaining 16,000 square feet.

Valley View Nursery will continue to occupy a separate portion of the building.

The center will be managed by Tom Ross, a Sprint executive who is transferring from Florida.