Against the rage of the economic recession, Monster Worldwide Inc. has emerged with a simple strategy to get Americans back to work: Find the jobs.

Of course, it's more complex than it sounds. Under Monster, the Public Sector and Education (PSE) division has partnered with state and local governments and education institutions to match workers with emerging employment opportunities.

By attracting talent, developing online career communities, recruiting students and building real-time labor intelligence and services, the public-private partnership seeks to plug holes in the state and local work force with qualified individuals who need work.

"It's really a rich resource for what a person seeking opportunities might need to develop their plan and connect," said Debbie Wesslund, coordinator of Wired65, an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor that focuses on regional economies and work force development.

Monster is most known for recruitment and matching employers with job seekers. But in the past two years as federal stimulus dollars trickled down, the global job-matching engine has evolved, connecting with human resource directors and state work force organizations to identify areas that could use support, said Lee Ramsayer, vice president of Monster PSE. From these collaborations, customized solutions were born.

For example, Monster recently helped create the KIX (Kentucky Indiana Exchange) online community, which features various tools (e.g., social networking) that allow users to communicate and share educational or employment opportunities and also matches job seekers with employers.

Launched in April, the regional portal aggregates data -- such as economic conditions, employer needs, job availability, salaries, etc. -- from 26 counties across two states. The response so far has been positive for the states as well as local communities, Wesslund said.

"It is a unique effort because it pulls together a regional economy," she said. "And we love people from outside our region being able to see what a cool place it is and say, 'I want to see what job opportunities they're offering.'"

In Ohio, Monster powers Ohio Means Jobs, where employers can search through a database of 3.5 million resumes for free. Monster has also launched workshops to give displaced workers tips and training on how to use the Web, find jobs and establish an "Internet brand."

For students, the partnership has led to branded banners and targeted e-mails and newsletters, announcing educational opportunities in emerging fields on community sites such as Fastweb.com and Military.com.

But these solutions still faced challenges, specifically the fact that no precedent exists, Ramsayer said. The strategies, he said, have never been done before so government officials may be skeptical at first.

"It's not a quick sale by any stretch of the imagination," Ramsayer said. "They may ask, 'Have you done it before?' and 'What are the results?' We haven't, but we do know the results of doing things the way we've always done them."

Despite this new territory, Monster PSE relies on its precision technology and market data to drive the model. Monster mines and harvests the resumes and jobs posted to the site to figure out what's needed and where.

"We have the ability to analyze that data on the demand side," Ramsayer said. "Really nobody else can marry it with the supply side, so we can look at the supply and demand curve in a particular region. Most folks don't know Monster does this."

With this real-time labor intelligence, Monster brings credible data to state and local governments, which they can use to determine the talent pool as well as growing areas in need of workers, and train accordingly.

"People are less transient today," Ramsayer said. "They can't pick up and move from Ohio to North Carolina to get a job because they can't sell their house, or other things are impacting them from going where the jobs are. We work with governments to supplement training needs and get them the skills in careers that are growing and get them re-employed, which is what most of these workers want to do."

 

Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer