VEC to relocate, expand Buchanan County call center
Move will add 110 jobs
Amid record-breaking unemployment claims filed during the pandemic, the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) will relocate and expand its Buchanan County customer service call center, adding up to 110 jobs, the agency announced Friday.
The need for relocation and extra space began last year as more VEC employees responded to issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new building will be located in the Southern Gap region of the county in the former Sykes Enterprises call center building. The VEC expects to move in March.
“VEC has been a key partner in our region for many years and Buchanan County and VCEDA were involved in VEC’s initial location to the county around 20 years ago,” Jonathan Belcher, executive director and general counsel to the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, said in a statement. “When we became aware of VEC’s need for additional capacity, Buchanan County and VCEDA reached out to VEC to propose the larger facility at Southern Gap and that VEC expand its workforce in the region.”
The project received a $200,000 Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission’s CProp program grant as well as local funds. Buchanan County’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) purchased the property, which has been vacant since summer 2019, from Sykes. More than 100 people currently work at the existing VEC call center in Buchanan County.
“We look forward to the move to Southern Gap and growing our workforce to better serve our customers,” VEC Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess said in a statement. “We have a great team in Buchanan County and the property at Southern Gap is the perfect fit for our need to expand. This investment in our long-term partnership with Southwest Virginia will yield benefits for all Virginians for years to come.”
VEC has signed an initial 10-year lease for the building, beginning March 1. The property was most recently reported to have a value of nearly $5 million, according to Buchanan County property records. It sits on more than 11 acres.