Texas Workforce Commission Creates Free Statewide Online Employment Service

The Texas Workforce Commission has launched a free, online job-matching system, which already is receiving 50 new jobs and 200 new applications daily.

Even before the debut of a statewide advertising campaign, employers and job seekers are finding the new Hire Texas site (www.twc.state.tx.us) by searching the Internet or by word of mouth, TWC officials said. The site has records of more than 30,000 jobs and 1.4 million applications

Even so, TWC is working with 28 local work-force development boards to market the system statewide. The boards oversee more than 100 local Texas Workforce Centers that serve state employers and job hunters, said Larry Jones, TWC's director of communications.

"This is a true job-match system," Jones said. "We're not just posting jobs for employers and applicants, but actually matching them based on their own criteria...and it's free for everyone."

Hire Texas, which cost $140,000 to develop, was funded from a federal unemployment tax on employers. The system uses an existing mainframe, which is now linked to the Internet with an IBM Corp. e-business solution. The system uses Java technology to bounce information off the database and produce matches.

"Our mainframe was robust and old but still viable, and we couldn't find better technology out there," said Marc Daniel, a TWC program specialist. "The data crossover, with 1.2 million applications, would've exceeded the entire cost of development."

The new system went live a few weeks ago, replacing a nearly 25-year-old manual process that was bogged down in paperwork. "The applicant-oriented searches receive results immediately through the new system, and the employer-oriented searches use a batch system and are usually done by the next day," Daniel said. "But we're working on getting that closer to real time."

The TWC is rolling out its advertising campaign though newsletters, raising Internet awareness at its centers and direct mailing to employers, Jones said.

The Internet-based system gives Texas Workforce Centers employees more time to work directly with users and identify the best candidates for a job overnight. All employers who have a Texas tax identification number can use the system free of charge. It can serve as a precursor to hiring a "head hunter," said Ron Lehman, a TWC commissioner.

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