Valuable Web Tool Can Help Connect Employers, Jobseekers


Is your hand up or is it out? What is your value in this new world?

In the book The Coming Jobs War, author Jim Clifton writes, “The will of the world is first and foremost to have a good job. Everything comes after that. A good
job is a social value.“

I am writing this article because there is not a day that goes by that our company, customers, competitors, educators, union leaders, community leaders and elected officials all say there are qualified candidates to fill the jobs we have open.

Yet every day I hear from jobseekers who believe there are no jobs available.

In the Erie community alone, we have approximately 12,500 unemployed people who are looking for work.

So, what is the reason for this disconnect? And how do we connect the dots?

In my experience as a longtime businessman, we need to connect them one job at a time — and we need to do it locally.

Because, as Clifton writes, “The federal government cannot create sustainable jobs, just short-term ones.“ “Jobs are as local as politics,“ he continues. “Cities
are job power plants of human energy, which creates jobs through innovation and especially through job entrepreneurship.“

In Erie, we have an estimated 5,000 employers. If each company hired one person, we could reduce unemployment by 40 percent. And by growing our work force locally, we could gain efficiencies in the system, which could be translated into real value for our community.

That is why O*NET (the Occupational Information Network) is so valuable. O*NET gives everyone the ability to access data on job characteristics and worker attributes. This comprehensive library includes information on the knowledge, skills, abilities, interests, preparation, contexts, and tasks associated with more
than 1,122 O*NET occupations.

And it’s easy to access. Simply visit the website, go to the top right corner, and type in what you do. You will then find the appropriate O*NET code.

The Summary report will give you a detailed job description and advise you on what job zone and education is usually needed to perform the job, as well as what interests, work styles and values are needed for the job code. It also will give you related occupations.

More importantly, it will give you value for this occupation — both nationally and by state — plus how many people are in the field, as well as employment trends.

In my opinion, O*NET is one of the most transformational resources for both employers and jobseekers.

For business owners, it is an imperative tool that you can easily use to determine where you are at, and where you want to go with your human capital. I know because we have used it to update all of our job classifications, hiring practices for each job, and our overall company budget.

By using O*NET and its concrete information, we can now effectively utilize CareerLink to find candidates. We can constructively talk to educators on what programs we need to produce the most profitable work force. And, we can inform students about what jobs are available and give career counseling.

If O*NET sounds like a valuable tool, that’s because it is. The only cost required is an Internet connection and the time to figure out how you can bring value to the equation.

So ask yourself: Is your hand going to be up or is it going to be out? With a tool like this, I assure you that we can work together to improve our work force and our community.