The Goal

Job resources are critical to many people in the Twin Cities. Ramsey County Workforce Solutions strives to fill this need with two main projects – JobConnect/Construct Tomorrow and Construction Hiring Connection (CHC), which offer a bridge between contractors and job seekers.

JobConnect serves as a network for workforce professionals, a resource hub for job seekers statewide, and it offers free training programs to bridge the “skills gap” that affects the talent pipeline in our workforce.

Construction Hiring Connection was started to assist with the development of the Light Rail Transit system in 2007, to provide an information stream to the community and let them know about jobs.

Both of these sites are also used by contractors in Ramsey County to find qualified applicants to fill open positions and track hiring goals, and they were looking for a way to make the process more accessible and easier to use for applicants and employers.

The Challenge

Workforce Solutions had a lot of qualified workers wanting jobs, but nobody was reaching out to interview or hire them. Contractors either didn’t want to hire the workers available, or they didn’t know where they were or how to reach out to them.

The Solution

Workforce Solutions needed a system built to track compliance for hiring higher percentages of women, veterans, and minorities, and to draw in contractors to use the system. With the custom Databank system built for Ramsey County Workforce Solutions, contractors can now:

  • Search the database for applicants by categories like Trade, Certification, Union Membership, Section 3 (low-income status), or Project.
  • Schedule interviews from within candidate profiles, and record whether an offer was made and accepted/rejected.
  • See at the top of their login screen what percentage of new hires were women, veterans, and minorities, as well as how many logins have been made to track good-faith efforts to meet hiring goals.

There was also a chart made available to contractors that allows contractors to see, visually, how many of each kind of worker (Pre-Apprentice/Apprentice/Journeyman) is available for each type of industry. Contractors can click on a piece of the chart, which brings up a list of available workers in that category along with basic profile information.

The Outcome

Construction Hiring Connection and JobConnect have proven to contractors that there are plenty of skilled women, veterans, and minority workers in the workforce. There is now a simple tool to recruit candidates, track compliance to hiring goals, and streamline the interview process.

For Ramsey County Workforce Solutions as a whole, increased traffic to their websites have shown that their programs are reaching the right people and connecting job seekers and employers.

Through PowerMail and subscriber services, RCWS was able to keep job seekers and employers engaged, with over 15,000 during the recession. This high level of engagement led to 250,000 website hits per year during the those years.

In only five years, subscriptions to both CHC and JobConnect grew by almost 700%, to over 11,500, and the list keeps growing every year.

“With our Databank, we’ve saved numerous hours on admin costs. We can rearrange admin time to do other important things, build a reputation, and bring in money for services with partners,” said John O’Phelan, Business Services Representative for Ramsey County Workforce Solutions. “We’re solving large issues in the community through social enterprise.”