A federal contractor said it will hire nearly 500 people in Lawton, Okla., to help support the new health insurance exchanges created under the federal health care law.
Serco North America announced that it will lease a 55,000-square-foot building in Lawton and hire 477 employees in mid-November, the Lawton Constitution reported.
Last year, Serco received a federal contract to support the new insurance exchanges.
Mayor Fred Fitch said the announcement is welcome news, especially after civilian furloughs at Fort Sill caused by the federal government shutdown and cutbacks at other employers in the area.
“Five hundred jobs in Lawton – man, that’s a good deal,” Fitch said. “It’s going to fill a void that’s been created.”
Oklahoma leaders decided not to create a state-run insurance exchange, so Oklahoma’s exchange will instead be run by the federal government.
Serco said the company will hire administrative and clerical workers, data entry operators, call takers and quality assurance clerks. Officials say the pay will range from $10.88 per hour to $20 per hour, plus benefits. Several supervisors and managers will also be hired with salaries up to $95,000 a year.
The facility should be up and running by Dec. 10.
“We at Serco are grateful for the warm welcome from the Lawton-Fort Sill community and aim to become a true civic partner,” Alan Hill, senior vice president of Serco, said in a statement. “We selected Lawton for its readiness to support this program and strong workforce, and look forward to joining the community.”
Serco leased the former Assurant facility, which closed last year and put 175 people out of work. At one point, the Assurant call center had 400 workers.
“It’s just a wonderful day for southwest Oklahoma and we appreciate everybody involved in this,” said Brad Burgess, chairman of the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.