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June 4, 2004


CHICAGO – Responding to the disheartening news that Sprint plans to close its Bolingbrook call center later this summer, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced an immediate course of action to try and save the facility and it 1,000 jobs.  Governor Blagojevich has directed the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to lead the state’s effort and will deploy the state’s Rapid Response Team to support these workers in Bolingbrook in the event that the closure does take place.
“Sprint has been a major employer and a good neighbor in the Chicagoland area for several years,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “We are going to do everything we can to find a way to keep the call center open.  We owe it to the 1,000 Bolingbrook employees and their families to try and save these jobs.  But the men and women who work for Sprint should also know that if the facility does close, we will be there to help them get through what would be a very difficult time.”
DCEO’s Rapid Response Team will be deployed on-site in Bolingbrook to address the announced closure and to make sure workers are fully prepared for all future possibilities, including the prospect of seeking new employment. 
“I will work with the Governor night and day to keep this facility open.  We’re going to make the case for what a great place Will County is to work and do business, and we are hopeful that Sprint will respond favorably.  It is an important part of our community, and we’ll do everything we can to change Sprint’s mind,” said State Senator Lawrence Walsh (D-Joliet).
“I am thankful that the Governor is doing everything he can to keep these jobs in Bolingbrook where they belong.  Working together, I hope we can convince Sprint to keep this call center open,” State Rep. Brent Hassert (R-Romeoville) said.
“We’re going to make our best effort to keep the Sprint call center open.  But it’s also important for Sprint employees to know that whatever the outcome, they won’t be on their own.  If these jobs are lost, it won’t be the fault of the 1,000 employees who work extremely hard and efficiently.  Both locally and on the state level, we’ll be ready to help them get through whatever happens,” Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar said.
“Our focus right now is on keeping the call center open,” said DCEO Director Jack Lavin.  “But whatever the outcome, our effort to bring jobs and prosperity throughout the Chicagoland area will continue.  We want to make sure that all residents have the skills and training to not only find the next job, but to find the right job.”
The Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region.  Each plan is tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.  The Governor has already unveiled plans for six of the ten regions – Northern Stateline, Northwest, Southern, North Central, Southwest and West Central regions.  He will announce his plan for the Northeast region in the coming months.


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