Agencies develop Web site to search for new workers

Companies will be able to link to show openings, check others' job lists

Howard Business

May 15, 2000|By Stacey Hirsh | Stacey Hirsh,SUN STAFF

In an effort to contend with the low unemployment rate, a group of agencies is creating a Web site to link job listings from companies in Howard and Carroll counties and around the state in search of qualified workers.

"We want to simplify a gateway for any employers in any of the two counties to go in and link themselves," said Bob Sharps, a retired Howard County businessman and chairman of the project.

The project, dubbed the Mid-Maryland Workforce Collaborative, is funded with a $19,000 grant from Mid-Maryland Career Connections.

The Web site is a cooperative effort of several private and public organizations, including Maryland Works Inc., the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, the Howard County Economic Development Authority, the Howard County public school system and Howard County Employment and Training.

Though it does not yet have an address, the Web site will link to the job-listing page of the agencies involved and other state and national job databases, providing a one-stop shop for users in search of a job.

It will also include resume postings and places to go for resources such as training and job coaching. The listings will be mostly from mid-Maryland, but will include other parts of the state.

"This is a nice, easy way to put some very valuable information together, and everybody benefits," said Bonnie Grady, president and CEO of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, which does not have a Web site for job listings.

Grady said the Web site could save employers from having to hunt for job applicants at a time when workers are so hard to find.

"There is really a challenge in finding candidates for any position now at any level because the unemployment rate is so low," she said, adding that the Web site would be a creative solution.

The unemployment rate was 1.4 percent in Howard County and 2.4 percent in Carroll County in March, the most recent month for which unemployment statistics are available.

Collaborative effort

Though some of the agencies involved in the program have job listings on their Web sites, officials expect the collaboration to enhance those sites."Certainly, each one of them has yielded positive results in their own right," said Bob Hofmann, executive director of Maryland Works and the project director. "But it's hoped that this will increase the visibility and utilization of all of these sites."

The Web site will allow employers to link into several specialty sites, some targeting people with disabilities, others targeting people looking for high-technology jobs, and others targeting potential interns.

It will also link to a database of companies that are interested in working with students, said Meg Gerety, grant facilitator for Mid-Maryland Career Connections.

"Students will be able to access employer information and know which employers are willing to host an intern," she said.

Through the Web site, students will know which employers to go to if they're looking for an after-school job or an internship or a mentor program. Teachers can tap into the database to help students find someone to job-shadow or to find a worker willing to speak in the classroom, Gerety said.

Sharps said the Web site might be up by summer, but likely will take more than six months to phase in.

Central Internet site

cmhereThe site, Hofmann said, will save employers time by helping them find all resources in one place without having to surf the Internet.

This will provide "access to all these different sites with the click of a mouse," he said, noting that the Collaborative will be responsible for updating the site.

The Web site will link, for example, to the Howard County Chamber of Commerce's soon-to-be-launched job listings page, which in turn will include links to pages with information about the community, schools, crime statistics and business statistics, said Kara Calder, director of government affairs and special projects for the chamber.

"Collaboration on this issue is key," Calder said, "if we're going to be able to continue to be able to meet the area's work force needs."

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