Prometric fires 92

most worked here

52 local employees are part of 3% cut in global staffing

January 12, 2001|By Stacey Hirsh | Stacey Hirsh,SUN STAFF

Prometric Inc., a computer-based testing company, has let go 92 of its 3,000 workers worldwide - about 3 percent of its work force.

Of the 92 workers, 52 are in the Baltimore area, which includes sites in Meadow Mill, Woodlawn, Linthicum and Baltimore, where the company is headquartered.

The layoffs, which happened Wednesday, come as Prometric restructures to strengthen its position in the industry, according to a press release. The company will also be beefing up its national and international sales force as part of the changes.

"Prometric remains a healthy company doing a robust business," Stephen A. Hoffman, the company's chief executive officer and president, said in the press release. "The new organizational structure is aimed at keeping us moving in the right direction."

Prometric is a division of Thomas Learning, which is part of Thomson Corp., the Canadian conglomerate. Thomson bought Prometric from Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. of Baltimore last year for $775 million.

Prometric delivers computerized testing for information technology industry certification, academic admissions and professional licensure and certification.

In November, the company announced an agreement with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to convert its CPA exam to a computerized test. The test is taken by more than 100,000 people each year, according to Prometric.

The company announced in December that Thomas Learning had agreed to acquire Galton Technologies Inc., which is to be run as an affiliate of Prometric. Galton does certification and test-assessment for the information technology industry.

Milosz Skrzypczak, an analyst with the Yankee Group in Boston, said the industry is seeing a shift from paper and pencil testing to computer-based testing. And Prometric says it has more than 80 percent of the computer-based testing market in America.

"We're transitioning from an emerging player on a very aggressive growth track to a more seasoned competitor focused on growing our business through careful planning and execution," Hoffman said in the release.

"The most difficult part of implementing this plan is the part that calls for reducing the work force. It's one of the most painstaking decisions a leader will ever have to make."

Hoffman said the discharged workers will receive outplacement and counseling services.

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