April 11, 2014
Work program creates dialogueJulia Hearthway, Pennsylvania's secretary of Labor and Industry, discussed a new program called Job Gateway with Susquehanna staff on Thursday.
Hearthway said that this program will be a benefit to Pennsylvania residents because it is an online website that matches employers with those seeking jobs.
Hearthway explained how working with colleges and universities is beneficial to the new Job Gateway Program.
Hearthway said: "There's a wealth of talent in our colleges and universities. Pennsylvania has a lot of institutions. It is one of the states with the largest number of colleges and universities, and we have a lot of good businesses here."
Hearthway talked of the disconnect that sometimes occurs between talented college students and good businesses, and how this program will hopefully get rid of that disconnect. Hearthway said, "One avenue is to try and help connect them through the internet."
She continued: "Students at the universities get to utilize the tools, have information they may not have otherwise gotten to make decisions, look for employers. Vice versa, employers have this talent pool that I think is not tapped as much as it should be to look for talent."
Hearthway also discussed how college students can use the tools on Job Gateway to help prepare them for landing their first job.
Hearthway said: "We put features on there that would help you land that first job. We provided information that wasn't readily available before that's on labor statistics, so you can look and see what the labor supply and demand is in a particular area."
She continued: "There's a fun program on there called Big Interview, where you can go online, get tips on how to interview. You can also practice interviewing."
Hearthway also discussed how this Job Gateway program is a work in progress. She spoke of the importance of testing it with college students to get their feedback.
Hearthway said: "What I'd really like to have from students is feedback as to whether it is [helping], or if it's not we're going to change it. There's no point in having it if it's not helpful."
Hearthway also discussed how the program will help Pennsylvania's unemployed by matching them with employers.
Hearthway said: "There's a lot of reasons we have unemployed. Some of them are within state's control and some are not." She continued: "But one factor is not always knowing where to look. Not knowing that there are job openings, and for employers not knowing where to find good talent."
Hearthway also discussed how this program is designed to be user friendly for every age group.
Hearthway said: "The more comfortable an individual is using the Internet and technology the more they will get out of it. But we have worked very hard at making this user friendly, so even my age and older can utilize it."
Hearthway also discussed the impact that she hopes this program has on the state.
Hearthway said: "We hope it has a large impact. It is not one thing that makes an impact. It's a series of things. This is one piece of it. We think it will help some individuals. We hope a significant number of individuals."
Hearthway discussed how this Gateway Program is not for one particular job sector, but will help unemployed Pennsylvanians know what areas have jobs.
Hearthway said: "This system is for any industry. For you to know which of those areas that are booming and which ones are not."
Hearthway also discussed how this program could benefit older Pennsylvanians who were laid off.
Hearthway said: "A lot of individuals who lost their jobs in this past recession have had those jobs for 15, 20 years. They haven't interviewed for a decade or more, so Big Interview would help them get back into the swing of things."
She continued: "It would also help them explore a different career path."
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