Business operations center to open in the fall in newly purchased 70,000-square-foot building.
UPMC promises to bring at least 200 new jobs to Erie starting this fall when it opens a new business operations center on the city’s east bayfront.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced the center’s opening Wednesday during a news conference at the center’s site, 380 E. Bayfront Parkway, which previously housed Environmental Reclamation Services. UPMC Hamot bought the 70,000-square-foot building earlier this month for $2.975 million.
“These are good jobs and they are located within the city limits of Erie,” Wolf said. “These jobs will pay $32,000 on average, with benefits. These are family-sustaining jobs.”
The center will include customer service representatives, claims examiners and enrollment specialists. About half will work for UPMC Health Plan and the other half will work for UPMC, handling customer/patient questions, and scheduling appointments and office visits.
It will be UPMC’s third center, and the first one to open outside of the Pittsburgh area. All the Erie jobs will be newly created, said Mary Beth Jenkins, UPMC Health Plan chief operating officer
“Erie County had added 55,000 new UPMC Health Plan members over the past five years,” Jenkins said. “We needed a new center to support our growth.”
UPMC Health Plan has 3.2 million members, with 67,000 residing in Erie County.
UPMC will invest $12 million in the project, including the purchase price. The health system also received a $300,000 Pennsylvania First grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development that will be used to train new employees.
The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, which works with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.
“This is a good example of what partnerships should be between the public and private sectors,” Wolf said.
Construction is expected to begin within days, UPMC Hamot President David Gibbons said. Work will focus initially on the building’s front offices to allow about 50 people to begin working in the center by October.
Renovation work will then start in the building’s warehouse, converting the large, open space into offices and cubicles.
“One reason we chose this building was that it’s a blank canvas,” Jenkins said. “We expect to have at least 200 people working here over the first three years and eventually up to 300.”
The creation of the business operations center is the latest in a series of additions and renovations UPMC has made to its downtown Erie campus over the past 10 years, including a new $111 million, seven-story patient tower at Hamot that will be completed in 2020.
David Bruce can be reached at 870-1736 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNbruce.