NORTON, Va. — EarthLink will invest $5.4 million to establish a major customer support center in Norton that is expected to create 285 jobs.
The high-speed internet service provider is in the process of returning its customer service operations to the U.S. and will construct a 30,000-square-foot facility at the 200-acre Project Intersection development at the junction of U.S. Highways 23 and 58 in Norton, according to a news release issued Tuesday by Gov. Ralph Northam.
“EarthLink’s new support center in Norton will play a major role in bringing the company’s customer service operations to the United States, creating economic opportunity and new jobs for Virginians,” Northam said in the release. “The rural regions of the Commonwealth successfully compete for and attract projects due to their infrastructure, business-friendly operating costs, and dedicated and highly-skilled workforce. We look forward to supporting EarthLink’s growth and achievements in the Commonwealth.”
Founded in 1994, EarthLink is an independent company that received a Great Place to Work Certification in 2020 and 2021 in recognition of its outstanding workplace experience, the release states.
EarthLink CEO Glenn Goad said, “Having grown up in this area, it gives me great pride to further EarthLink’s efforts to provide award-winning customer experiences through our new sales and service center in Norton. We look forward to a long partnership with this community and the employees who will become part of EarthLink.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Norton, LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, InvestSWVA, the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to secure the project for Virginia, according to the release.
Northam approved a New Company Incentive Program grant of $686,500, which will be provided by the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund, according to the release. EarthLink is the second company in Virginia to benefit from the program.
The Tobacco Commission also approved a grant for $62,500 from the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund for this project. EarthLink is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program as well as from the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created. Funding and services to support the company’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the release states.
State Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, is a Tobacco Commission member who said he spent “countless hours with the EarthLink team working on this opportunity, and I can definitely say that we are not only getting a new company that will be creating 285 new, good-paying jobs in Southwest Virginia, but we are also getting a company that will be an innovative, leading community partner.”