The Starwood Hotels contact center, located at the former Wichita Mall at 4301 E. Harry, took its first call Monday morning, but will continue to take applications in preparation for additional hires.
The center has opened in temporary space with 57 employees, with help from trainers from other company contact centers, and with another 60 people in training. The company expects to employ up to 200 by the end of the year, and it might be ramping up for more hiring in 2014.
State officials said in May that Starwood has agreed to hire more than 900 employees for the center, although Starwood Vice President Mike English, who oversees the company’s call centers around the world, on Monday didn’t confirm a number.
Company officials said Monday that they have received about 1,500 job applications. Those who weren’t hired in the first few rounds might still be hired, they said. They also welcome more applicants.
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“We’ve been thrilled with the people we’ve hired so far,” said Jessica White, vice president of North America Customer Contact Centers for Starwood Hotels.
White and English on Monday showed off plans for the much larger space at the mall’s east end that is being converted into a contact center with nearly 500 seats. The space will be ready by January.
The pay starts at $10.50 per hour, not including performance bonuses.
Starwood Hotels owns Sheraton, Four Points, Westin and a number of other hotel brands around the world.