NORTON - Internet service provider EarthLink plans to invest $5.4 million to construct a new customer support center in Norton.
The company plans to hire 285 people to staff a planned 30,000-square-foot facility at the 200-acre Project Intersection development at the northeast junction of U.S. 23 and U.S. Highway 58. Virginia successfully competed with other states to win the project, according to 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 a written statement. “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.”
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. Gov. Northam approved an incentive grant of $686,500, which will be provided by the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund.
“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,” said EarthLink Chief Executive Officer Glenn Goad. “We look forward to a long partnership with this community and the employees who will become part of EarthLink.”
The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization 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, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, 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.
Area lawmakers expressed support for the project.
“I cannot express how excited we are to have EarthLink in Southwest Virginia,” said Tobacco Commission member and Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City. “I have 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.”