Washington State Gets a More Effective Labor Exchange

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington


Connecting state and local government leaders

Working with Monster, the Evergreen State wants to pair job seekers with work before they graduate education programs.

Washington state launched a more effective labor exchange Wednesday, one focused on customers rather than government programs.

Monster Worldwide’s second statewide job match platform, built in partnership with the WorkSource Washington career system, is the product of 24 focus groups with employers and discussions with job seekers.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, employers can specify desired skills, applicants list theirs and Weston, Massachusetts-based Monster ranks the degree of fit in a Top 10 format.

“Our people can really get on with client management,” Dale Peinecke, Employment Security Department commissioner, told Route Fifty in an interview. “And that’s working with employers to look at how they’re describing the skills and talents they need.”

On the job seeker side of the equation, the system can flag one or two skills or credentials employers are looking for that the user lacks, and client services can reach out to provide information on the proper education programs.

In the past, employers had to sift through piles of hundreds of job specifications and resumes to find a match themselves.

A lumber mill in Shelton was looking for saw sharpeners, who use hand tools in their work. Meanwhile, the aerospace industry requires tool sharpeners, who have the same skillset by a different name. WorkSourceWA.com can now make that connection and flag 200 additional candidates with the necessary abilities that once fell through the cracks.

That’s all thanks to Monster’s “semantic search” capability, which understands the definitions of words and can pull in related skills.

“This is very powerful technology,” said Steve Cooker, Monster global government solutions executive vice president.

And a budget calculator function lets job seekers figure out what their finances will look like should they take a particular job.

Monster’s first labor exchange implementation, OhioMeansJobs, has evolved over time to support specific state programs, like having about 200,000 K-12 students take assessments about the jobs they might be suited for later in life.

Where WorkSourceWA.com differs is its integration into Washington’s case management system. Labor market data is analyzed regionally to guide job seekers to better fits and develop workforce pipelines more quickly.

“WorkSourceWA.com provides a great way to efficiently connect incredible talent through Monster’s technology,” said Gov. Jay Inslee in the announcement. “This collaboration will help our state reduce unemployment and grow our economy, while ensuring that Washingtonian workers and employers have opportunities to be successful and prosper.”

Washington unemployment was at 5.8 percent in June, Peinecke said, and between 300,000 and 400,000 citizens are looking for work at any given time.

The new WorkSourceWA.com, live since May 3, creates a more efficient, publicly funded job market for them.

“I see this as the ability to double or triple the number of folks we’re able to serve and bring into this match,” Peinecke said. “Over time I really believe, because this is state of the art, we’re going to improve this technology continuously.”

In the next two to three years, he’d like to see community and technical colleges enrolling all their matriculating students in the system to fill jobs before students even have their diplomas or certificates in hand.

“That is going to significantly shorten cycle time for employers to fill open positions,” Peinecke said.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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