Saturday, February 28, 2004

Phone talk pays at NKU

Telemarketing company opens on campus

By Travis Gettys
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - Students at Northern Kentucky University can get valuable on-the-job training - and a paycheck - without leaving campus.

A ribbon-cutting was held Friday at the dbaDIRECT call center, housed in the old Science Building at NKU.

The company began hiring earlier this month, and four students now work about 20 hours a week at the call center, said Larry Runge, vice president of marketing and operations.

Students will participate in software marketing, he said, in addition to speaking to clients, many of whom are corporate executives.

"It should make them much more comfortable handling questions in job interviews or in classes," said Runge, a 1977 NKU graduate.

Runge said the company plans to hire up to eight students by the end of this year, with more expansion possible.

"The dbaDIRECT student call center is a win-win for everyone," said Dr. James Votruba, NKU president.

"(It) carries forth NKU's vision to strongly align our objectives with the needs of our learners and of the metropolitan area."

The information technology firm, founded in 1998, joins other outside employers at NKU, including Delta Airlines and Fidelity Investments.

Amanda VanBenschoten, who has worked at Fidelity's on-campus call center since July, said working on campus has reduced the demands of juggling work and school.

"It's really convenient being on campus, and it's great being able to work a couple of hours between classes," VanBenschoten said.


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