HispanicBusiness: In what ways are you reaching out to community groups and employer associations? How has this particular effort going?
Solis: There are more than 20 agencies within the U.S. Labor Department—from the Office of Disability Employment Policy to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration to the Wage & Hour Division. Each of these agencies works closely with chambers of commerce, unions, employer groups, state workforce boards, and local leaders to achieve a synergy of efforts to spur economic growth and assist the American worker.
We hold job fairs, workshops, conference calls, stakeholder meetings. We take our message on the Internet and appeal directly to different constituency groups.
Most recently, the Labor Department has teamed up with employers to create summer jobs for youth. Since January of this year, more than 120 Summer Jobs+ partners have committed nearly 300,000 jobs and other opportunities for young people through this initiative. We have hosted web chats and news conferences with mayors of major cities to get the word out about our summer job bank. And my Employment and Training Administration worked with the National Association of Workforce Boards to promote more than 30 job fairs across the country on May 10.
HispanicBusiness: How does your office utilize social media?
Solis: During my tenure, the Department of Labor has used social media to battle the long-standing stigma that government doesn't do customer service well. I am actively Tweeting, posting on Facebook and engaged in communication with people around the country through web chats and blogs. I utilize social media to make announcements, to communicate important issues, or to share information about upcoming events. I use YouTube to send my messages about new initiatives. We also post photos on our Flickr page, where everyone can see what we're doing at the department.
My department has assembled the largest collection of job searching, job placement and job training tools anywhere in the United States, but our resources are only as good as the ways we deliver them to the American people.
By 2013, it's projected that 62 percent of all web users in this country—and nearly half of the American public—will be using Facebook. It began as a vehicle to connect people with people. But my department has worked with Facebook to connect people with jobs. It represents the Obama administration's strong commitment to customer service on the most important issue of our time: helping people find work. We have launched a new social jobs partnership to connect 132 million Americans to our job placement resources.
We have a website called MySkillsMyFuture.org that helps dislocated workers and people looking to change careers. It helps them find new occupations where their existing skills will translate into employability. It can help part-time workers find full-time jobs and lower-paid workers find higher-paying jobs. Users can enter their current or most recent job, and it will tell you about other career paths that use similar skills. It will tell you how much those jobs pay, what additional skills you need to acquire and the local institutions that can train you. For each career field, the site gives you a side-by-side chart listing salary information, educational requirements and employers in your area that are hiring now.
We also have another website called MyNextMove.org that helps new entrants into the workforce figure out the job that's right for them. And it's especially helpful for young people, for those with limited English proficiency and for those without any post-secondary education. It asks users to fill out a questionnaire listing your interests and abilities. Then it suggests different employment paths that might make sense for you. It tells users about local apprenticeship programs and certificate programs, so they can get training to fill jobs in high-growth industries.
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