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Facebook partners with Labor Department to help job-seekers

  Labor Secretary Hilda SolisThe Labor Department is hoping a popular new friend can help unemployed workers find jobs.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on Thursday announced a partnership with Facebook designed to connect the jobless with companies that are hiring. The Social Jobs Partnership will aggregate a variety of existing, but often little-known, job-search services on a new Facebook page in hopes of drawing more attention to them.

"Landing on this page can help Americans land good jobs," Solis said at a Washington news conference with representatives from Facebook, the National Assn. of Colleges and Employers, the National Assn. of State Workforce Agencies and the DirectEmployers Assn.

The partnership, which Solis hopes to expand to Twitter, LinkedIn and other social-networking sites, will highlight job-placement resources to match those openings to some of the people who need work.

There are about 3 million job openings in the U.S., Solis said, and about 14 million unemployed people .

Among the services available to help match them up are 3,000 one-stop career centers nationwide, and online tools such as the Labor Department's My Skills My Future website, which allows people to see alternative careers for their skills and get information on educational opportunities and employers for those fields that are near them. 

"Our data information and services are valuable only when people know about us," said Bonnie Elsey, president of the National Assn. of State Workforce Agencies, which represents public agencies that assist the unemployed, such as the California Employment Development Department. "Just think of the expanded audience we can reach with our partnership with Facebook. We can connect more job-seekers with jobs."

Facebook's new page will be a one-stop shop for those looking for work, said Marne Levine, the company's vice president for global public policy.

"Think of this as a free, online job fair that can be accessed seven days a week, day or night," she said. "Our labor market is changing, and so should the tools that are used to find these jobs."

A survey this summer by recruiting site Jobvite of 800 U.S.-based human resources and recruitment professionals found that 64% hired through social networks this year, up from 58% in 2010.

"The social Web is changing the way that employers search for talent," said Bill Warren, executive director of the DirectEmployers Assn., a nonprofit consortium of about 600 U.S. companies that focuses on recruitment and other human resources practices. "This initiative is going to make the recruiting process easier and more efficient for both employees and job-seekers."

In addition to creating the Facebook page, Levine said the company would launch public-service announcements on Facebook and the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, a list led by Nevada and California.

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 -- Jim Puzzanghera

Photo: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. Credit: Associated Press

 
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