BOISE, December 29, 2003 ? Qwest Communications International (NYSE: Q) today announced that its current expansion in Idaho Falls and Pocatello will bring an additional 325 jobs to the company?s customer service centers in 2003 and early 2004, bringing the company?s total employment in Idaho to more than 1,600 employees. Both of the Eastern Idaho service centers handle inbound calls from Qwest customers throughout the company?s 14-state local service region. The centers perform a variety of functions, focusing on delivering complete and personalized service to Qwest?s residential customers.
?Qwest believes in Idaho and its outstanding workforce,? said Jim Schmit, Qwest president for Idaho. ?The partnership that has been established between Qwest and Eastern Idaho has created an environment benefiting our customers, employees and the local economy.?
The Pocatello center began the year with 130 employees, and the Idaho Falls center began with 80 employees. The expansion of the centers was part of the company?s Spirit of Service initiative to meet growing customer demand and provide a consistently high quality customer service experience. The quality workforce and community support pointed to Pocatello and Idaho Falls as excellent locations to add customer service positions.
The Pocatello center first opened for operation in January of 1998, and the Idaho Falls center began operations in May of 1999. A key factor in the selection of Eastern Idaho as the location for the centers was the support from The Regional Development Alliance (RDA) and the state of Idaho in providing grants and training funds to assist in making the centers successful. While employment levels at the centers have fluctuated each year, the current combined employment level will be at an all-time high, combining for a total of 535 employees (311 in Pocatello, 224 in Idaho Falls).
?This is yet another example of Qwest?s ongoing commitment to Idaho,? said Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne. ?The creation of these jobs is a great testament to our state?s ongoing efforts, through great economic development programs and innovative regulatory policies, to create public-private partnerships that put Idahoans to work.?
The additional positions provide a substantial boost to the Eastern Idaho?s economy. Based on the starting wage, the new jobs will add an additional $10 million in annual earnings to the area economy ? a figure that will continue to grow as the employees complete training and gain additional experience with the company.
?This is the result we were working for when the RDA invested in Qwest,? said Blake Hall, president of the Regional Development Alliance. ?Our mission focuses on creating quality jobs in Eastern Idaho, and this is a prime example of a long-term partnership that has accomplished that goal.?
Qwest has already seen improvements from a number of service initiatives implemented across the business since January. Internal customer service measurements show a 16 percent increase in customers who rate their experience with Qwest as excellent or very good. In addition, the recent J.D. Power & Associates local service report showed that Qwest had improved in 36 attributes and in all six major components of customer satisfaction.
?These results are a clear indication of our employees? commitment to the Spirit of Service and truly putting customers first. As we continually monitor both internal and external customer satisfaction at our call centers nationwide, our Idaho employees consistently rank at the top of the list. They are role models for the Spirit of Service and we?re proud to bring additional jobs to Idaho,? commented Paula Kruger, executive vice president of Qwest?s consumer markets group.
While many of the customer service positions have been filled, the company is planning to begin several training classes in January and February and is looking for additional candidates in both Idaho Falls and Pocatello. Qualifications for the positions include demonstrated leadership capabilities, excellent communications skills, sales or service background as well as a college degree. Persons interested in these positions should visit the Qwest job posting Web site at http://www.qwest.com/careers/ or contact their local Idaho Job Service office.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leading provider of voice, video and data services to more than 25 million customers. The company?s 47,000 employees are committed to the ?Spirit of Service? and providing world-class services that exceed customers? expectations for quality, value and reliability. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
This release may contain projections and other forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results. Readers are referred to the documents filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically the most recent reports which identify important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to: the duration and extent of the current economic downturn in our 14-state local service area, including its effect on our customers and suppliers; access line losses due to increased competition, including from technology substitution of our access lines with wireless and cable alternatives; our substantial indebtedness, and our inability to complete any efforts to de-lever our balance sheet through asset sales or other transactions; any adverse outcome of the SEC's current investigation into our accounting policies, practices and procedures and certain transactions; any adverse outcome of the current investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Denver into certain matters relating to us; adverse results of increased review and scrutiny by Congress, regulatory authorities, media and others (including any internal analyses) of financial reporting issues and practices or otherwise; further delays in making required public filings with the SEC; rapid and significant changes in technology and markets; any adverse developments in commercial disputes or legal proceedings, including any adverse outcome of current or future legal proceedings related to matters that are the subject of governmental investigations, and, to the extent not covered by insurance, if any, our inability to satisfy any resulting obligations from funds available to us, if any; potential fluctuations in quarterly results; volatility of our stock price; intense competition in the markets in which we compete including the likelihood of certain of our competitors emerging from bankruptcy court protection or otherwise reorganizing their capital structure and competing effectively against us; changes in demand for our products and services; acceleration of the deployment of advanced new services, such as broadband data, wireless and video services, which could require substantial expenditure of financial and other resources in excess of contemplated levels; higher than anticipated employee levels, capital expenditures and operating expenses; adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment affecting our business; and changes in the outcome of future events from the assumed outcome included in our significant accounting policies.
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