Cover Story: 1,200 new jobs coming to Charlotte and Concord

By Jeff Atkinson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Ring, ring.  That's opportunity calling.  It's the largest regional jobs announcement in years.  And for once you don't have to be an engineer or scientist to land one of these gigs.

It's one of the largest job announcements in the Charlotte region in years.

A company most people have never heard of but they're associated with some of the biggest names in health care.  The company is called "Connextions" and they're bringing 1,200 jobs to the region.

The company is recruiting for some of the new positions this week.  The pay is about the median household income in Mecklenburg county.

And unlike some previous announcements this company which will be in Charlotte and adding jobs in Concord isn't asking taxpayers for a dime.

Charlotte's had some positive job announcements over the last three years.  Headquarters re-location.  Energy sector jobs.  Health care field.

"Jobs are coming..."

But what makes Thursday's announcement unique is the sheer size: 1,200 openings and that they're jobs ideal for those displaced in the textile and manufacturing industries.

"They're dealing with health care.  So health care's not going to go away. This is something.. these are going to be very stable jobs," says Concord Mayor Scott Padgett.

The company is called "Connextions" based in Orlando, Florida.

They work for some of the country's top health insurers acting as facilitators between the companies and their customers.  And they sell health insurance plans to individuals and small businesses.  The work is primarily call center work.

Why did they pick the Charlotte region?

Connextions President Steve Auerbach says, "The residents of Charlotte understand how to listen. They understand how to connect with the consumer. And then drive the best possible result that's what picked this marketplace. It was the people."

They'll move into a vacant office building off Arrowood Road in southwest Charlotte.  And join two other firms Zenta and the American Red Cross who've set up large call centers nearby.

It fulfills a goal of local economic developers.

"Health care and call center are two of our key targets.. so this is kinda the one-two punch," says Kati Hynes of the Charlotte Chamber.

Of the 1,200 jobs Connextions is looking to fill 800 are in Charlotte and 400 are in Concord.  They will join an office of 600 employees Connextions already has in Cabarrus county.

Gov. Perdue flew in for the announcement.  The deal came together without any economic incentives.

"We had our Commerce team involved.. I think somewhere along the time there might have been 100-thousand from the state. This is a company that really didn't require a lot of incentives," said Perdue.

The pay starts at about $39,000 a year which is just a little lower than Mecklenburg county's household median income of $45,000.

It's welcome news to Kiara Sutton who's been looking for a job for a year.

"I think that'll be excellent," she said.  "That's right up my alley. I'm sales experience.. call center.. customer service. That'll be great for me. I hope I get a job."

All the jobs will be filled this year which is a little unusual by how some of these jobs announcements have gone.

Connextions plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony in July and the company do a job fair the same day.

The president told us they've seen growth of 40-percent year after year.

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