Magazine article Workforce Management

Free Site America's Job Bank to Be Shown the Door in '07

Magazine article Workforce Management

Free Site America's Job Bank to Be Shown the Door in '07

Article excerpt

JOB BOARDS

The U.S. Labor Department plans to close the national online job board America's Job Bank in a little more than a year, a move that could hurt employers and job seekers.

The Labor Department sent a notice to state officials earlier this year saying "the benefits of AJB (America's Job Bank) no longer outweigh the costs of operating and maintaining this system. Therefore, AJB will be phased out during the next 18 months and cease to be operational on June 30, 2007."

Shutting down America's Job Bank will be a major blow to employers and job seekers, says Gerry Crispin, co-founder of job-site consulting firm CareerXroads. Crispin says the site has been a way to aggregate all the job postings of some 2,000 state employment offices around the country, giving smaller, local employers the ability to broadcast their jobs nationwide for free.

"We are basically losing a public resource that provides job seekers a more convenient and easy way to identity the employers who were local and had smaller budgets," he says.

America's Job Bank dates to 1995, and the free site boasts more than 2.1 million jobs and more than 683,000 résumés. But it has been criticized as difficult to use. The Labor Department said in its notice that "AJB has not been able to keep up with private-sector job boards or industry standards regarding up-to-date technology."

The slated closure of America's Job Bank could force both companies and states to change the way they do business. The site has been used by companies as a means to abide by the guidelines of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recruiting analyst Peter Weddle wrote in an online newsletter in April.

An alternative for demonstrating a good-faith effort at EEOC compliance, Weddle wrote, is posting jobs on a variety of sites, including general-purpose employment sites and "diversity" sites such as those that specialize in candidates of a particular race.

The notice sent to state officials said that during the past two years, the Labor Department had evaluated the viability of maintaining a national job site.

"Since the launch of AJB, the number of private-sector Internet-based job boards (CareerBuilder, Monster, Yahoo hotjobs, etc.) has proliferated, calling into question the need for a federal government-sponsored job board," the notice said.

The notice, titled "The Phase Out of America's Job Bank," also said: "The cost of operating AJB has been as high as $27 million per year, with a current operating budget for maintenance-only of $12 million per year. …

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