Hewlett-Packard is laying off around 500 workers in Conway as it streamlines its operations at its three-year old $28 million customer support facility and abroad.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer firm opened its Conway service center in 2010 amid tremendous fanfare.
The company told employees in its customer loyalty center on Monday (July 8) afternoon that it would provide severance packages to nearly 500 workers and help with finding employment for those displaced.
A HP spokesperson confirmed that the layoffs will occur and that only the Conway facility is affected by today’s announcement.
The restructuring is part of an announced plan made public in May 2012, which involved significant layoffs at various other facilities, although Conway was not impacted at that time.
A spokesperson for HP tells Talk Business there should be “no disruption” to any services despite the cutbacks.
HP announced its location in Conway, Ark. in 2008, but didn’t open the facility until 2010.
News of the state landing the Hewlett-Packard facility in Conway was heralded as game-changing for the state’s economic reputation. The city’s two colleges and one university were to be a feeder for the tech jobs the center would field. At the time, as many as 1,500 jobs were expected.
Employment reached about 1,000 in recent times, but HP has a policy of not disclosing its employee count at locations.
UPDATE: HP spokesperson Sarah Pompei provided the following statement to Talk Business this afternoon.
“As part of our efforts to streamline our business processes, advance innovation and deliver the best possible experience for our customers, employees and shareholders, on July 8, 2013, HP internally announced plans to restructure its Customer Support Specialist/Contact Center footprint in Conway, Arkansas. This is a component of the plan announced on May 2012, which is designed to simplify business processes, advance innovation and deliver better results for our customers, employees and shareholders.”
“There will be no disruption in any of our services. Customers will still have access to HP’s full portfolio of services with the same level of quality. As always, our customers, clients and communities whom we serve continue to be the cornerstone of our business. We reaffirm our commitment to providing innovative technology solutions to every community we reach. As well, HP will be taking steps to help our affected employees during this transition.”
Arkansas Economic Development Commission spokesman Joe Holmes outlined the incentives HP received when it located in Conway. He said that the payroll incentives were performance-based and would be evaluated for settling up purposes.
He also anticipated meeting with HP officials in the coming weeks to determine if other state investments might warrant some return to the state.
The incentives included:
•Tax Back – provides sales and use tax refunds on building materials and taxable machinery.
• Advantage Arkansas – provides 1% income tax credit for payroll for new jobs for 5 years.
• Create Rebate – provides a cash rebate equal to 5% of payroll for 10 years
• $10 million Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund – for infrastructure for the building that will be permanent to the building such as generators, cabling and other needs.