DOL and Facebook create partnership to help job seekers

With hundreds of millions of people using Facebook to socialize and network, the Labor Department is now taking advantage of that platform to help Americans find employment, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced on Oct. 20.

“We are working with this iconic American company to connect people with jobs,” Solis said in a livestreamed news conference on the Facebook Live page.

Solis, along with representatives from Facebook and several non-profit groups, announced the new Social Jobs Partnership to coordinate their efforts in providing online job services to the public via social networking services. The partnership may add Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks at a later date, Solis suggested.

Initially, the social jobs partnership will raise awareness of existing public service programs for job seekers available on the Web and at various locations, its members said.

The partnership has launched a Social Jobs Partnership Facebook page that hosts information and offers links to Web content and other services offered by the Labor Department and other partners.

For example, the page will connect users to DOL’s MySkillsMyFuture.org, which is a job and career services website, as well as to its MyNextMove.org website for young people just starting their careers, Solis said. It also promotes DOL’s JobCorps program for young workers.

Facebook officials said the company will broadcast public service announcements in 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, as well as in Puerto Rico.

In the coming weeks, Facebook officials said the company will conduct research to develop innovative ways to connect job recruiters and career centers with job applicants via social networks.

Facebook also will “explore and develop systems where new job postings can be delivered virally through the Facebook site at no charge” and will “distribute educational materials about leveraging the power of the social web to recruiters, government agencies, and job seekers,” the company said in a statement.

Facebook also will begin targeting job announcements and resources to job seekers by geography, Marne Levine, Facebook vice president of global public policy, said at the press conference.

If notice of job openings are made in a particular city, Facebook will push out the information to job seekers in that area, she said.

Some of Facebook’s activities for the partnership are in the development phase and pending, and the immediate activity that will take place is the public service announcements and promotion of partner resources, Levine said.

“We are going to invest in research, new technologies and innovative ways to find jobs online,” Levine said.

Within an hour after the news conference had ended, 476 Facebook users had “liked” the partnership’s page.

Most of the reactions to the partnership from Facebook users were positive. “Great partnership—spread the word!” wrote a user on the Facebook DC page that carried the live video announcement.

A few people expressed concerns that details of what exactly the partnership was offering was not completely clear. “Weren’t a lot of these resources already online?” one user asked.

Others said job seekers may need help taking advantage of Facebook to find jobs. One user suggested that Facebook hold webinars to help job seekers utilize the Social Jobs Partnership services more fully.

The other members of the partnership are the National Association of Colleges and Employers, DirectEmployers Association and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

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