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UC Riverside lands new jobs rich UC system payroll center

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UCPath Center expected to bring as many as 600 new jobs

By Chris Levister

The perception that the Inland Empire is no longer a destination for white collar jobs was turned on its head Thursday. In what leaders called a “watershed moment”, the city of Riverside will be the site of a University of California payroll administration center serving all 10 campuses and five medical centers within the UC system, adding as many as 600 jobs to the Riverside County economy.

“It’s smart, innovative and courageous,'' said UCR Chancellor Timothy White. “UCPATH is terrific economic news for Riverside certainly, but also speaks to the innovation of the UC system that holds promise to serve as a national model for other large public university systems.” White, UC Executive Vice President Nathan Bostrom, Riverside County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Tavaglione and other leaders gathered at the UCR Highlander Union Building to announce the establishment of UC Path, which stands for "Payroll, Academic personnel, Timekeeping and Human resources.''

According to Bostrom, the center will consolidate routine payroll, benefits and workforce administration currently spread throughout the individual campuses in one place ---- UCR ---- by October 2014. The effort is expected to save $100 million annually once fully integrated. UC Path will be up and running by July 2013, initially handling payroll and other administrative functions for UCLA, the Ronald Reagan UCLA-Medical Center, UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced and the UC Office of the President.

Over the next year, 140 to 160 people will be hired to staff the UC Path Center, and eventually, 600 people will on board, according to university officials. Bostrom and White characterized the positions as "knowledge-sector'' jobs, which White said are largely concentrated in Los Angeles and Orange counties. “By keeping more of these jobs here, we can lower the wear and tear on our freeways and lower our carbon footprint,'” the chancellor said.

Bostrom acknowledged that many of the positions will be filled by "harvesting'' the UC system's current stock of employees, including workers currently performing human resources tasks at UCR. He said some job cuts will be necessary as payroll management is eliminated at the various campuses and centralized in Riverside.

“We'll try to do as much as we can through attrition (as opposed to outright cuts),” Bostrom said. He said setting up the UC Path Center will entail a $170 million commitment, amortized over seven years.

UC officials are scouting for a building to lease or buy near the UCR campus and should settle on a location by June.

“This is another day of pride for us in government and the community, to celebrate another advancement for UCR,'” Tavaglione said. “The regional economy still has a long way to go (in recovering from the 'Great Recession'). But every job here in Riverside multiplies into many more tax dollars. This will have a tremendous economic impact.” According to Bostrom, UCR competed with five other campuses to host the UC Path Center, but in the end, Riverside was viewed as the best location based largely on the relatively low cost of real estate and low cost of living.

“The university is doing the right thing here,” said UC President Mark Yudof. “We are using the power of technology and of centralized services to streamline our costs and to give taxpayers the best possible return on investment.”

Riverside, a city with a population of more than 300,000, is ranked as the 12th-largest city in California and the sixth largest city in Southern California. Riverside’s location positions it as one of Southern California’s major transportation hubs. The city is accessible via Interstate 215, and the 91 and 60 freeways.

“Riverside is a wonderful place to live and work. I am delighted to welcome the University of California Human Resources/Payroll Division and Shared Service Center and its 600 high-quality jobs to Riverside,” said Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge.

“This is the type of economic development that will have a broad and lasting positive impact on the Inland region,” said Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster. “This announcement, along with the new School of Medicine, demonstrates UCR’s significant role in the economic resurgence of Riverside County and its ability to help us diversify and strengthen our regional job market.”

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