Fears about the future of Intel’s Rio Rancho plant still loom large in the City of Vision.
But economic development officials say Tuesday’s announcement that 900-plus contact center jobs are coming to Rio Rancho early next year could help to balance the city’s economy.
Safelite AutoGlass, which had $1.5 billion in sales last year, is the largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement, and its Rio Rancho location, set to open early next year, is expected to host both full and part-time insurance claims processing and support jobs.
The New Mexico Economic Development Department said in a release that the state plans to provide $3 million in Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funding to invest in infrastructure improvements for Safelite’s expansion.
At a press conference announcing the jobs, Gov. Susana Martinez also outlined plans to help the company take advantage of the Rapid Workforce Development Fund, including setting up training with local colleges and universities to train workers on Spanish-speaking skills.
Leaders, including Martinez, Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull and Sandoval Economic Alliance President and CEO Jami Grindatto, described the announcement as the result of a sustained partnership between several economic development organizations.
“T his announcement is a huge win for Rio Rancho and shows what can happen when we work together,” said Grindatto.
While city and state officials confirmed Safelite will fill a call center property vacated by Sprint earlier this year, Brian O’Mara, vice president of client service delivery for Safelite, suggested that they plan to fast track its growth.
“It is my personal projection that we will outgrow this facility in the next three years,” said O’Mara, “and that is a plan I have already put together with my team.”
O’Mara also says New Mexico was a particularly promising site for its operations.
“When searching for a new site, the most important thing was the quality of the site,” said O’Mara. “I can’t teach sympathy, empathy and I can’t teach anyone how to care about other people.”