TH EXCLUSIVE: Publishing company to bring up to 50 new jobs to Dubuque

A publishing company intends to bring dozens of new jobs to Dubuque in late 2020 and early 2021.

McGraw-Hill Higher Education plans to add 40 to 50 local workers in the coming months, according to Manager of Culture and Talent Jody Willging. The jobs formerly were based in Florida.

Willging said the hires will include three supervisor positions and a customer-quality analyst.

There also will be around 40 call-center agent positions. They technically will be contracted workers employed by another agency, but they eventually will work out of the McGraw-Hill facility on Bell Street.

Willging said the upcoming hires reflect McGraw-Hill’s history of success in Dubuque, as well as its long-term commitment to the community. The company has about 300 workers in Dubuque.

“The reason we’re bringing these jobs to Dubuque is because of the workforce we have here,” Willging said. “We have great employees and great talent here, and we want to continue to build that in the community.”

Willging said McGraw-Hill is hoping to hire the analyst and supervisor positions as quickly as possible. Twenty-five call-center positions will be filled by mid-November, and 15 to 20 more will be staffed by the end of February.

Workers will begin working remotely but eventually will work out of the McGraw-Hill facility in the Port of Dubuque.

The call-center roles are increasingly important at a time when McGraw-Hill, and many others in the publishing industry, are pivoting toward a more digital-based business model.

“These are high-demand positions now,” explained Willging. “Technology is changing education, and a lot of students are transitioning to online learning, as opposed to being in a classroom. As students and instructors use these online tools, these workers are offering support to them.”

Earlier this year, McGraw-Hill was announcing layoffs. In January, the company confirmed that 28 Dubuque employees were notified of job cuts.

Rick Dickinson, president and CEO of Greater Dubuque Development Corp., said he is “thrilled” with McGraw-Hill’s decision to expand local operations in Dubuque.

He noted there are about 4,400 fewer jobs in Dubuque County now compared to this point last year. The new jobs offered through McGraw-Hill will help — and Dickinson believes the company will be successful in finding those desired workers.

“I think their timing is excellent,” he said. “There have been some challenges when it comes to filling vacancies since the beginning of the pandemic for a variety of reasons. But I think now is a time when people are really coming back to work.”

Dickinson noted that Dubuque has a rich history when it comes to the publishing industry. Today, Kendall Hunt Publishing Co. and McGraw-Hill are among the entities carrying on that tradition.

“Publishing has a storied past in Dubuque, and it is still a major part of our regional economy,” Dickinson said.