Monday, January 31, 2005

Economic Duhvelopment

OK, for you Economic Development yinzers "aht" there, the big announcement previously anticipated here by Fast Eddie Rendell was a big Turkey.

From the Post-Gazette:

Citizens Bank and Gov. Ed Rendell announced today the bank will be adding 500 new jobs at its call centers across the state, 250 of them at its Pittsburgh headquarters on William Penn Place, Downtown.

Ralph J. Papa, president of Citizens Bank's western region, said the bank expects to fill more than 200 of the local positions by August. The jobs will range from supervisory to entry level positions and will have mostly evening hours, he said.

The bank also expects to provide additional training to 1,525 current employees. Rendell said the Governor's Action Team that oversees business expansion projects has agreed to provide Citizens with $400,000 in an Opportunity Grant and $475,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to support the new jobs.

Jobs: GOOD! Call Centers: Bad!

Call Centers are low value added jobs for the region. Take a few dozen people out of their MickeyD's uniforms, place them in front of phones in a giant warehouse and BOOM!, insta-Call Center. Sure, they produce jobs, but they don't produce wealth generating jobs. Additionally, there's nothing intrinsic about the Pittsburgh region that would stop Citizens from outsourcing these jobs to India.

This is not smart Economic Development; this is ass-backwards smokestack chasing. [Try to shake THAT imagery out of your head.]

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