CallSocket CEO Tom Henderson has answered the call for good-paying jobs by directing his call center to hire everybody who is willing to work, regardless of race and condition.
Many entrepreneurs don’t want to hire minorities, formerly incarcerated, visually impaired, homeless persons with bad credit histories, second-chancers, or former drug users.
But those obstacles don’t apply to CallSocket because they are bringing people back to downtown while other market forces are moving them out.
“We look at each person and their ability to do the work regardless of their disability or background. Because everyone deserves a chance at a good job,” said Henderson.
He continued, “I have always believed that if you give people an opportunity – they will become good workers. We have people who are great workers who then go on to other companies or industries – which are also great. We just hope that, no matter what, they gain more skills than when they started.”
Henderson says he has embraced and adopted the marketing message that “Black Jobs Matter, Oakland Jobs Matter,” as his company’s mission statement.
Oakland’s downtown real estate boom, which is making room for the booming hi-tech workforce, has ironically contributed to moving out some non-profit and government agencies that deal with workforce development for Oakland’s neediest, most neglected and overlooked populations.
Henderson is fully aware of the challenge of finding affordable housing for his employees. CallSocket’s Human Resources department regularly assists employees with income verification for apartment housing.
“I knew creating jobs in Downtown Oakland for true Oaklanders was not going to be easy as there are real obstacles and doubters,” said Henderson. “You know what I love? My employees are tough and despite great adversity, they come to work every day prepared to work hard.”
As he walked through the Tribune Tower call center pointing out former homeless veterans, visually impaired and a group of racially diverse workers, he said, “They don’t give up, and no matter what, I am not going to give up on them. I will continue bringing and keeping jobs in Oakland.”
Henderson has partnered with faith-based organizations and other entities such as Lighthouse for the Blind and the Oakland Private Industry Council to send CallSocket “people who want to learn, and those who want to advance their careers.”
CallSocket jobs pay livable starting wages from $14 to $17 dollars an hour plus bonuses.
Supervisors earn $19/ hour and managers are salaried and start at $55K/year.
Henderson said, “there is opportunity to advance to Supervisor, Manager, Quality Assurance – and some move on to other vocations in other divisions like the Data Analytics team. We have had employees transfer to other businesses under our corporate umbrella and it is great because there are lots of opportunities.”
“Many of our employees are already entrepreneurs – they run catering and entertainment business and we have hired some of them to cover our events. I am pretty sure we employ some of the best cooks in town. And, if more local companies used CallSocket’s sales force we could hire even more people who often don’t get a second look,” he said.
When asked what CallSocket could use from the city or the community to continue to grow the businesses, Henderson said the continued support of the job candidate pool and new customers and contracts is needed.
Sandra Jackson is a mother of two children who had been unemployed since 2010. She had previously worked in the health field. “I have gone from being an agent to a supervisor and I look forward to more growth,” she said.
Joyce Farrell, a recent graduate from Sacramento State University, looked for work for three years before discovering CallSocket on Facebook. “I was hired as a call center agent. I never worked in this capacity before but I do know how to communicate with people. I am now a manager with my own team,” said Farrell.
Linrod Zepherin retired from working in the banking industry in 2013 after an injury that required surgery. “I found CallSocket from a friend who worked there,” said Zepherin.
Having been formerly incarcerated, Paul Johnson established himself as a call center representative. “I was looking to secure a long term job with a company that offers a good salary, excellent benefits, and a great opportunity for advancement. I have found all of that here at CallSocket,” said Johnson.
Call Center agent David Jackson, who is visually impaired said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to work for CallSocket.”