Some Outsourced Jobs Are Coming Back

In March, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson told a Texas business group that the communications company was having trouble finding qualified applicants to fill 5,000 jobs -- mostly customer service positions -- that it had pledged to move back to the United States from India, according to a Reuters report.

An AT&T spokesman Thursday backpedaled from Stephenson's comments. Michael Coe told ABC News that AT&T had filled more than 2,500 positions and that the company is confident it will fill the rest.

"You always want qualified workers," he said. "And we've been looking for qualified workers, and we've been finding them and filling the jobs."

The company, Coe said, is launching a $100 million program called Aspire to help at-risk students succeed in high school.

"As a company, AT&T is committed to programs -- such as Aspire -- that help prepare more U.S. workers for jobs like the ones we're bringing back," Coe wrote in an e-mail to ABC News.

Manufacturing Left Behind?

Koulopoulos said that one place the country largely isn't seeing insourcing is in the manufacturing sector. That's partly due, he said, to the fact that automation is reducing the number of manufacturing jobs worldwide, not just in the United States.

Those who have lost jobs in manufacturing, he said, often can't easily transition into other careers.

The critical question, he said, is, "How do you redeploy and reskill folks who don't have the luxury to pick and choose their work?"

Ironically, one American entrepreneur says he's using the consolidation of manufacturing jobs to create more work in the United States.

Farouk Shami, the founder and chairman of the Houston-based hair care company Farouk Systems, said that automation is helping him move the manufacturing of the company's blowdryers and flat irons from China and Korea to the United States.

"It takes 70 Korean or Chinese workers 20 minutes to make a Chi flat iron," he said. "Now, in the United States and in Houston, with five people, I can make an iron in five minutes."

Shami, who was first profiled by ABC News Houston affiliate KTRK, said he is building a new facility in Houston that he hopes will house 1,000 new workers within a year. He said he expects to neither save nor lose money through the new venture.

A Palestinian immigrant, Shami said he's just doing his part to help the U.S. economy.

"The only way to recover our economy is if we start manufacturing," he said. "I'm doing my part as a good citizen, that's all."

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