ROCKFORD, IL—Although this city retains a hefty bit of industry,especially in aerospace and logistics, over the last few decades itdid lose thousands of jobs, leaving behind a highly-trainedworkforce looking for employment. The deep labor pool, however, hasrecently attracted other companies including many that run callcenters. And the outsourcing company APAC Customer ServicesInc. has just renewed a 73,757-square-foot lease for itscall center at 7180 Spring Brook Rd. in Rockford, illustrating thecontinuing appeal the city has for this sector.

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APAC, the Bannockburn, IL-based subsidiary of EGS Inc.Co., did look at a variety of alternative locations inRockford, other Illinois cities and even out of state, according toofficials from JLL, who helped negotiate thelease, but decided to stick with Rockford due to what it saw as astrong call center labor force and comparatively low rentalrates.

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“We seem to have become a hub for this type of activity, partlybecause the city has a readily available supply of labor,”Mike Nicholas, president of the RockfordArea Economic Development Council, tells GlobeSt.com. Thearea also has a highly-developed fiber optic system, which alsoaids businesses like APAC with an extremely high volume of calls.“And the city has very low power rates compared to otherneighboring towns; and we do have spaces available.”

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Furthermore, he adds, Rasmussen College, afor-profit private college has a campus in Rockford and runs atraining course on call centers. Therefore, not only does the cityhave an available workforce, it “has a skilled labor force thatpotential employers can draw from.”

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JLL vice president Henry Lee and managingdirector Dan McCarthy represented APAC in thenegotiations.

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.