Wilsonville's second largest employer, Convergys, recently announced that it is closing its call center facility at 9275 S.W. Peyton Lane. The closure will affect 208 employees, some of whom will have the opportunity to maintain employment in an at-home position.
The closure will occur in phases but the entire facility will close by March 31. A previous layoff in early 2017 affected about 150 workers. At its peak Convergys employed more than 800, according to the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce.
The closure comes six months after Microsoft closed its plant in Wilsonville, which resulted in 124 layoffs.
Convergys reported $2.9 million in earnings in 2016, a 1 percent decrease from 2015, and 2017 second and third quarter earnings that were lower than 2016.
"It's provided employment to hundreds of people in the Portland area; they've been really great to work with," City of Wilsonville Economic Development Manager Jordan Vance said of Convergys.
Vance believes the recent closures do not represent Wilsonville-specific issues. The unemployment rate in Oregon has hovered between 3.7 and 4.2 percent over the last six months. And according to a market analysis produced by Leland Consulting Group for the City of Wilsonville, only 15 percent of Wilsonville residents work in Wilsonville.
"I think it might be related to their specific business. With Microsoft, it was global business strategy restructuring. There were changes being made globally. Nothing that would indicate we would see more of this at Wilsonville level or Portland-Metro level," he said. "We don't pick winners and losers but we can support high wage industrial job creation."
Vance says while Convergys didn't qualify for the Tax Increment financing program, the city would provide a tax abatement if the next occupant at the Convergys property is in the manufacturing or industrial sector, invests at least $25 million in building improvements and equipment and creates 75 new full-time jobs that pay at least 125 percent of the average Clackamas County wage.
"The goal is to convert warehouses into higher value manufacturing facilities," Vance said.
Vance says Clackamas Community College will administer a rapid response program at the Convergys facility to help workers prepare for the closure, re-entrance into the workforce and job training.