Weekly Column

Mar 02 2020

Pride and Joy

**Click here to download audio of this week’s column**
**Click here to view and download photos from the visit**

 

In October 2016, I had the pleasure of visiting a new business in Northeast Omaha called North End Teleservices. At the time, the company, which provides contact center services for commercial organizations and government entities, had about 30 employees. It was exciting to see this budding start-up in an area of the city that is not typically known as a business corridor.

A little over three years later, in early February, I returned to North End Teleservices for another visit and I was amazed at how quickly the company has grown in just three years. Its workforce expanded from 30 to 120 and plans are underway to grow up to 300 employees. Under the leadership of CEO Carmen Tapio, who started working at a call center when she was 18 and has 30 years of experience in the industry, today North End Teleservices is the largest business owned by a black woman in the state of Nebraska. 

According to the Nebraska Department of Labor, the state-wide unemployment rate is low at 3.1 percent. In Northeast Omaha, however, the rate is far higher, reported to be in the double digits. That’s why it’s so encouraging to see a business like North End Teleservices growing and thriving in this area.

During my visit, the company’s leadership stressed that they see the company as so much more than just a business – it’s a place to change lives and enhance the greater community. I enjoyed getting to spend time with some of the wonderful employees, who are the heart and soul of this thriving company. North End Teleservices generates over $200,000 in economic impact annually for every job it creates. The success of the business helps drive the community’s growth and in turn the community’s success is good for business.

The numbers tell a great story. But what struck me the most was seeing firsthand how much North End Teleservices cares about each and every one of its employees. Carmen has created a professional environment that also has a family-like atmosphere. She goes above and beyond to help employees set and reach their goals. 

A major barrier to employment for residents in Northeast Omaha is lack of access to transportation. To address this problem, North End Teleservices recently purchased two vans, nicknamed “Pride” and “Joy.” The vans pick employees up in the morning, drop them off at home in the evening, and even stop by the grocery store to make life easier for the people who work there. 

In addition to providing transportation, North End Teleservices offers other incentive programs to attract and retain good workers. These include tuition reimbursement, financial planning services, leadership development and training, and a social worker who is on site once a week.

Because of the business Carmen and her team have built and the positive work environment they have created, applications are flying in. So are phone calls from individuals following up on their applications. People are excited about the opportunity to work there.

In my conversations with Carmen, it became clear that while she celebrates how far the business has come, she is also focused on big dreams for the future. She hopes to one day purchase the rest of the shopping complex where North End Teleservices is currently located, creating a business corridor that will provide more jobs and continue to strengthen the community.

I was inspired by this impressive Nebraska company and encouraged to see a symbiotic relationship exists between the business and the surrounding community. The names of the vans – Pride and Joy – are so fitting. North End Teleservices has such pride in the community they are a part of and members of the community take pride in this wonderful business. As North End Teleservices continues to prosper, I know it will continue to bring joy to many families and shape a brighter future for the community. 

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you next week.