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State Contracts Agency For The Blind To Staff Call Center

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CHICAGO (CBS) — While some companies have sent their call center work overseas, the state of Illinois has a new contract with a Chicago non-profit.

About 20 people have been answering calls at the Chicago Lighthouse about professional licenses since the beginning of this month.

Visually impaired employees are fielding calls for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Manny Flores, Acting Secretary of the IDFPR, says contracts that began this month aim to meet the needs of more than 1 million people licensed by the state.

“It also outs another sector of our labor force to work,” said Flores.

The President of the Chicago Lighthouse Dr. Janet Szlyk says nationally among the visually impaired averages 70 percent.

“They are talking to other professionals. They are professionals, they have bachelor’s degrees, it’s interesting for them to help these people,” said Szlyk.

The group has its work cut out for it. Flores said the goal is to bring down call times from the current 30 minutes to just four.

The Chicago Lighthouse is hiring upwards of 400 people to take calls for the Illinois Tollway starting in July.