Student services technology company to open Somerset facility


Back row, from left, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck, SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler, Cumberlands Workforce Center Business Services Team Member Shirlene Taylor, Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bobby Clue and Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley join, seated, from left, Shruti Gupta, senior manager of BlackBeltHelp, and Joe Quigley, associate vice president of U.S. operations, for Friday's announcement that the company will be opening a contact center in Somerset.

Halloween is still four days away but Christmas has come early for the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA).

The local economic development agency announced Friday that BlackBeltHelp -- a Chicago-based student services technology company -- will be opening a contact center in Somerset and plans to hire 15 remote positions as the new facility is prepared.

"We are thrilled to welcome BlackBeltHelp to Somerset and help spread the word about the jobs immediately available," SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler stated. "We continue to grow our workforce opportunities in Somerset-Pulaski County and are grateful this company chose our community to expand its education technology support services, which are increasingly in demand."

Formed in 2012, BlackBeltHelp provides student services contact center technology 24 hours a day, seven days a week for students, faculty and staff of higher education institutions. BlackBeltHelp solutions reduce administrative burdens and improve operational efficiencies while expanding access and reducing institutional costs through an AI-powered, cloud-based platform offering integrated voice, chat, ticket, email and bot technology.

According to SPEDA, the company supports four million students and has more than 200 clients. In addition to their headquarters in Chicago, BlackBeltHelp currently operates locations in Bakersfield, California; Dearborn, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Berlin, Maryland; and New Delhi, India.

"This is an exciting time for our company and it's the perfect time to join a rapidly growing organization," Joe Quigley, BlackBeltHelp associate vice president of U.S. operations, stated. A resident of this area for nearly 13 years, he added, "When seeking a location to expand U.S. operations, Somerset was the obvious choice and Chris Girdler and the SPEDA organization have been very helpful throughout the process."

Somerset Mayor Alan Keck expressed his gratitude to BlackBeltHelp for choosing Somerset to expand its business. "We are excited about the opportunity they are providing for our people and believe they will find Somerset to be a tremendous place to do business," he said.

Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley called the announcement "another huge win for Pulaski County.

"I'm excited to see growth here," Kelley said. "Thanks to everyone who has partnered in making this venture a reality. I anticipate a long and prosperous partnership with the great folks at BlackBeltHelp."

The company is currently working to prepare a location for its Somerset call center, which Judge Kelley hopes can come by year's end. When the facility does open, BlackBeltHelp plans to employ 20-30 positions with the expectation of adding more over time. The company will be hiring 15 now in remote positions, who will later report to the local center when it opens.

"They will work from home in Somerset while arrangements are being made on the call center location," Girdler explained, adding the hires will all be made locally rather than transferring employees from other BlackBeltHelp locations.

To that end, a local hiring event will be held this Wednesday, October 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Pulaski County Public Library. For more information about the event, e-mail

To learn more about careers available with BlackBeltHelp, visit

If you go:

Hiring event this Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the Pulaski County Public Library

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