Allison Hurtado/AFN

A new company to the Phoenix area is looking to hire 500 employees in the next 60 days to work in its new solutions center in Ahwatukee Foothills.

Connextions, part of the Optum health services business of UnitedHealth Group, helps carriers enroll, retain and provide service to its members. Their new solution center in Ahwatukee, at 4809 E. Thistle Landing, Suite 110, will have 469 seats to fill immediately and about 400 more when phase two of construction is completed. In all, the company will take over 71,000 square feet of office space.

During a job fair on Tuesday, hopeful applicants lined up for their chance to get an interview. John Hernandez, vice president of operations for Connextions, said he estimates about 150 people showed up within the first hour.

“We were a little surprised, but we knew that it’s a fast-growing sector, we’re a fast-growing company and that appeals to a lot of folks,” he said.

Though turnout was great at the job fair, Hernandez believes there will still be opportunities for people to get hired. They can visit and select “Phoenix” for a list of all open positions.

The company is mainly looking for licensed health care agents to work in sales and non-licensed agents with call center experience who can help members understand different plans and select the best one for them.

The center in Ahwatukee will focus on seniors, those over the age of 65, and help them navigate through their health care options and enroll in a new plan during the annual enrollment period.

“We are looking for folks that love to talk to people,” Hernandez said. “For our non-licensed agents, that’s who will predominantly be helping seniors, we want them to understand and educate themselves on the plans we have today and how to best utilize it. We need someone who is passionate, dedicated and loves talking to people. On the sales side, those people need to be licensed to sell insurance.”

Hernandez said the company chose to expand to Arizona because of the qualified workforce. Phoenix has more licensed health insurance agents than any other market, he said. Connextions currently has locations in Dallas, North Carolina, Indiana, Rhode Island and Texas, and is based in Florida.

Beyond the Ahwatukee location, Hernandez said he’s unsure if Connextions will open more call centers in Arizona. The company runs assessments every six months or so to keep track of where the need is.

“Every day 10,000 people age into 65,” Hernandez said. “That will happen for the next 19 years. We know this is a rapidly growing service. More people are taking a more active role in their choices. The demand is going to be there. Our clients want more folks in front of them. As we assess every six months and see where the demand is, certainly we’ll look at expanding more in Phoenix.”

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