SaviLinx in Brunswick Landing. Contributed photo

BRUNSWICK — SaviLinx, a Brunswick Landing-based company, hired more than 500 temporary workers, 150 of which are based in Maine, to assist state agencies struggling to keep up with high call volumes during the pandemic, company officials announced Wednesday. 

The new hires will help answer questions, process claims and direct callers to other resources for state unemployment offices that are “overwhelmed with calls from citizens that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a news release.

SaviLinx is a contact center for government agencies and commercial businesses with offices in Brunswick and Mississippi. The decision comes at a time when many companies are moving in the opposite direction and laying off employees. SaviLinx has not experienced any layoffs. 

According to an April 1 report from the Economic Policy Institute, roughly 20 million Americans, including 87,000 Mainers, could be laid off or furloughed by July.

A recent release from the Maine Center for Economic Policy stated that half those lost jobs are already reflected in the latest unemployment claims data, which showed more than 45,000 Mainers filed new claims in the two weeks ending March 28. According to the center, that exceeds the total number of unemployment claims in all of 2019. 

“Many people are furloughed, including restaurant and retail workers, and we are grateful that we can offer temporary work to help them through these difficult times,” CEO Heather Blease said in a statement. “During this crisis, this is how our company can contribute — by helping callers who desperately need assistance and by providing employment for those temporarily out of a job.” 

The 500 temporary workers will be employed for as long as agencies need additional support. A company representative declined to disclose how much the temporary workers will be paid.  

The hiring was completed within a two-week span, according to the release, and all new employees were able to pick up equipment and complete remote training sessions for the jobs, which will be done remotely. All SaviLinx employees started working remotely in March.

“We are experienced with large-scale hiring as we support a federal contract for the health insurance Open Enrollment season where we hire more than 500 agents each fall,” Blease said. “Our team has used every lesson learned from that experience to hire for the COVID response, only in a much shorter time frame.”

 

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