NCS Pearson will hire about 100 people to run a new call center in Lawrence for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, company officials said Monday.
And Sprint PCS workers in Lawrence, whose downtown call center is scheduled to close by May 31, will be welcome to apply.
"The timing of this seems to be working out well for both companies," said Terry Kroshus, call center director for NCS Pearson in Lawrence and a former Sprint PCS employee. "That's a big hit for Sprint PCS and the Lawrence community. We're going to do our part as a corporate citizen here to do what we can to help."
The new NCS Pearson center will be one of three established by NCS Pearson as part of a five-year, $140 million contract with the INS. The others will be in Knox County, Ky., and Arlington, Va.
The Lawrence center is scheduled star taking calls May 1 and be fully operational June 3.
Working out of NCS Pearson's existing complex in the East Hills Business Park, employees will take calls from people seeking information about visas or immigration and naturalization services.
Of the estimated 100 people to be hired, about 70 likely will need to speak both English and Spanish, Kroshus said.
Prospective workers either must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident, he said, and be able to gain a security clearance. Wages are expected to be $8 to $12 an hour.
Minneapolis-based NCS Pearson already has about 1,000 full- and part-time employees working at East Hills. The Lawrence operation processes pension forms for the government and takes calls about student loans for the U.S. Department of Education.
The INS contract will address a growing segment of government service, the company said.
NCS Pearson expects more than 14 million calls a year, with the load increasing by 40 percent within five years.