by Lance Turner
Posted 12/12/2013 10:32 am
Updated 8 months ago
You'd be forgiven for not having heard of Serco in Rogers. But the company, operating out of a nondescript three-story brick building, is a crucial part of making the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, work.
Reuters today examines Serco and its contract with the U.S. government, which Reuters says could be worth as much as $1.2 billion. The company processes Obamacare applications and has set up facilities in Rogers and in three other cities in Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma.
Since getting underway earlier this year, the Rogers facility has grown to 1,600 people, filling a local need for lower-skilled jobs that provide a living wage. Says Michael Harvey, COO of the Northwest Arkansas Council: "There's a lot of people who are going to have a better Christmas this year because Serco located in northwest Arkansas."
Still, Reuters notes that the jobs windfall juxtaposed with a distain for all things Obamacare has put local Republicans in an interesting position.
"If America is going to continue to be placed under something as flawed as the Affordable Care Act, then at least if there are going to be jobs created by it, let's put some of those jobs in northwest Arkansas," Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., said.
Meanwhile, Serco maintains a low profile in the city:
There's no logo in front of the building that houses its operations, though security guards are quick to intercept visitors to the property. Employees smoking cigarettes at the edge of the parking lot on a recent day said they have been told not to speak to the media. A company spokesman did not respond to several requests for comment.
You can read the full Reuters report on Serco at the GlobalPost here.