FirstEnergy Corp. has launched an innovative new career program to recruit high school seniors in the Akron area to work as customer service representatives in FirstEnergy's Akron call center. This program represents FirstEnergy's first recruitment effort targeting those who have not yet graduated from high school.
Students hired for part-time internships at the call center will receive paid training at $11 per hour while completing school. After working for several months following graduation, successful interns will be considered for full-time employment at the call center, which starts at $13.85 per hour and includes health insurance and tuition reimbursement for employees who wish to pursue higher education.
FirstEnergy employs about 500 full-time call center employees and 200 contractors in its three call centers, including 265 employees and contractors in Akron. In a typical year, FirstEnergy's call centers handle 16 million calls shared between call centers in Akron, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Customer service representatives take calls from customers about power outages, emergencies, billing, meter reading, account issues, starting and transferring electric service and any number of other matters.
Seven graduating seniors from North, Ellet and Kenmore high schools in Akron will begin internships the first week of April. The company will conduct additional interviews with graduating seniors later in April for additional opportunities starting in June.
"Our customer service representatives are often the first line of contact with our customers," said Gary W. Grant, vice president of customer service at FirstEnergy. "The contact centers also serve as entry points to other jobs in the company, and employment mobility is one major reason we've begun this new recruiting effort."
FirstEnergy has received positive input about the new internship program from the Akron Public Schools, and outreach through high school guidance counselors continues.
"We're pleased to have this new program available to our graduating seniors," said David James, superintendent of Akron Public Schools. "FirstEnergy is a major employer in Akron and placing our graduates into well-paying jobs with a stable, local company is a win for us, our students and FirstEnergy."
FirstEnergy is making plans to expand the program to other area schools including Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Wadsworth, Norton, Copley, Green, North Canton and Highland schools, and may develop a similar program at the company's other call centers in Reading, Pa., and Fairmont, W.Va.
Akron area high school seniors interested in pursuing this opportunity should see their guidance counselors for additional information. Students should be well-spoken and have good interpersonal and communications skills, and basic knowledge of computer operation is highly desirable.