BEND, Ore. -

A Bend customer-service call center announced Friday that it is boosting its starting hourly wage by 20 percent and will be adding 200 positions over the next several months.

That will be a 57 percent increase in the workforce at TRG Customer Solutions, which currently employs over 350 people.

The company, with 14 ?contact centers? around the world, employs over 5,000 people.

TRG also announced Friday it is boosting the starting hourly wage rate from $10.50 to $12, with incremental raises every six or 12 months as a full-time worker.

The raises, which took effect July 1, will allow entry-level employees to earn $26,000 a year by the end of their first year of full-time employment, the company said.

The call center, which began operations in 2000 (and formerly was operated as iSky), has seen its workforce rise and fall as it added contracts over the years.

In February 2010, for example, the firm announced it would be adding over 200 new staff, at a time when its workforce totaled around 250 workers. In March 2009, it announced it was hiring about 350 workers.

In a news release, TRG Chief Executive Officer Frank Kelly reiterated his company?s continued commitment to growing its operations in Bend.

?We?re very excited about this new initiative,? said Kelly. ?At a time when many companies are laying off employees, we continue to hire and grow. The work we do here requires very specialized technical skills and we have benefited from the highly skilled workforce in this community. This salary increase is a demonstration of our commitment to cementing our presence here in the wonderful city of Bend."

Tom Farrell, TRG's chief operating officer, expressed his enthusiasm for the new initiative.

?Bend has an extremely attractive demographic base, and this salary increase will reward our exceptional employees and attract the best talent in Bend," Farrell said. "Our business is our people, and our clients rely on our employees to represent their brands with care and passion. In return for their exceptional dedication, we believe strongly in investing in them in every sense.?

"Over the next several months TRG Customer Solutions will be hiring an additional 200 dedicated, motivated individuals with exceptional communication and interpersonal skills to join its team in Bend," the firm said. College students are eligible to apply. Interested candidates should contact TRG Customer Solutions directly:

To apply for a position, please contact:

Katherine Armstrong

Katherine.Armstrong@trgworld.com

Or visit www.trgcs.com/joinus.html and apply directly.

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, TRG Customer Solutions is a leading global business process outsourcing (BPO) provider of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions and technologies.

The company supports more than 175 global clients from 14 operations centers in six countries. It maintains over 5,000 workstations that support multi-channel inbound and outbound communications via phone, Web, e-mail, direct mail, and fax.