Pearson to close Northgate office next year

Company to cut 40 jobs, move 100 jobs to Cedar Rapids

By Pat Shaver

IOWA CITY—Changes in the education industry are leading to shifts for Pearson in Iowa City.

According to company spokesman Adam Gaber, Pearson plans to cut 40 regular full-time positions this year in Iowa. Where those cuts will be made has yet to be determined, but they will be within the company’s paper-based operations, Mr. Gaber said.

“We won’t know exactly how many of the 40 positions are being cut in each particular location until April,” he said. “There are those who may retire, those why may volunteer to leave the company and those who are placed in other positions in other parts of the company.”

The company has about 1,400 employees at its Iowa locations, in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Coralville. Pearson creates, prepares and scores student assessments for administration of state, national and college entrance exams, using paper and pencil application.

The changes in the industry and move toward digital tests and assessments have triggered the company’s decision to make several changes in Iowa over the next three years.

In September, Pearson will consolidate all of the paper-based report printing from the Cedar Rapids facility to Owatonna, Minn. Nine employees and one manager from Cedar Rapids will be invited to transfer to Minnesota to fill the positions there.

The Cedar Rapids facility, located at 9200 Earhart Lane SW, does printing, packaging and distribution of paper assessments.

In July 2014, the Pearson Iowa operations processing functions will be consolidated in Cedar Rapids. The move will increase Pearson’s Cedar Rapids workforce by 100 regular positions. The Iowa City employees whose jobs are moving to Cedar Rapids will be given an 18-month notice, Mr. Gaber noted.

The Iowa City Pearson location houses management, office and various operations staff. The Iowa City operations center receives and processes assessments. There are two Iowa City locations: 2510 N. Dodge St. and 2893 Northgate Drive. By the end of 2014, when the Northgate lease expires, the company plans to have all of the employees at the Northgate
facility moved to the North Dodge Street location.

Mr. Gaber noted that Pearson did not receive funding from the state or other entities to keep the jobs in the area.

“Positions are being cut because the shift to digital requires changes in how we operate. It will result in significantly fewer administrations of paper-based assessments and therefore requires that we proactively begin to realign resources from our paper-based operations to meet increased demand for digital delivery,” Mr. Gaber stated.

The employees who lose their jobs will receive “generous severance packages,” and have access to transition services,
career planning and job assistance, Mr. Gaber said.

In recent years, the company has experienced rapid growth in digital products and in education services businesses, which account for about half of Pearson’s sales. The company’s assessment and information business, which is the main
function of the Iowa operations, experienced flat revenues in 2012. Transitions to Common Core Assessments from No Child Left Behind have resulted in a tough market for state assessment and teacher testing.

Restructuring and investing in digital products is part of a company-wide strategy, according to a Pearson press release in February.

Pearson is an international education and information company with worldleading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing. The business is among the world’s leading learning companies, providing educational materials, technologies, assessments and related services to teachers and students. The company publishes
across various curriculums and also provides electronic learning programs and offers test development, processing and scoring services to educational institutions, corporations and organizations.