PROVIDENCE – The state will partner with a national technology company to create a Rhode Island-specific online forum aimed at connecting residents with jobs and training opportunities, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced on Wednesday.
The partnership between Jobcase Inc., which is lending its services and platform free of charge, and the R.I Department of Labor and Training will specifically highlight jobs and training opportunities through the newly launched Back to Work RI workforce training program. The program, which was announced in July, aims to help 7,000 unemployed residents find high-paying jobs with paid training and supportive services like childcare and transportation, with hiring commitments from major local and national employers.
Jobcase will use its existing technology and algorithms to create a Rhode Island specific-platform, according to a press release.
“The economy was changing rapidly even before the COVID pandemic, so having the right skills to compete is more important now than ever,” said DLT Director Scott Jensen said in a statement. “This partnership with Jobcase will go a long way to help connect Rhode Islanders with the resources we’ve made available.”
Rated by Comscore as the third-largest online destination for career services nationally, Jobcase has more than 110 million registered users and 20 million unique users each month – including 60,000 in Rhode Island – through its online job marketplace and social platforms. Unlike a traditional hiring platform, Jobcase blends job postings and communication from employers with a social media-like forum that lets participants ask questions, share tips, and encourage one another all in real time, according to Frederick Goff, cofounder and CEO of Jobcase.
In an interview with PBN on Wednesday, Goff likened the platform to LinkedIn, but geared toward jobseekers with high school-level education rather than company CEOs.
“It’s not enough just to highlight [new jobs or training opportunities,] but also to have a group of people say and ‘you can do it , I did it too,’” Goff said. “The power comes from everybody talking to one another.”
He added that he hoped the Rhode Island specific-forum, which already has 42,000 participants based on those already using Jobcase’s platform, would amplify the reach and effectiveness of Back to Work RI.
It will also prove crucial in attracting additional employers to commit to hiring through the program, said Tom Giordano, executive director of the Partnership for Rhode Island, a member organization of 13 chief executives representing major private employers in the state. Many of those employers have already committed to hiring through Back to Work RI, but looked for new ways to reach prospective trainees and employees, Giordano said.
“This is a fantastic one-two punch to get employers committed to hiring folks, and navigating the ways for [employers] to get in touch with them,” he said.
While the forum will focus specifically on jobs and training opportunities through Back to Work RI, it will also stand to benefit job seekers and employers not specifically connected to the program, Goff said.
Goff did not have a goal for how many residents he hoped would sign up for the forum.
Rhode Island job seekers can join the Back to Work RI Jobcase page here.
This story has been updated to include comments from Frederick Goff, cofounder and CEO of Jobcase and Tom Giordano, executive director of the Partnership for Rhode Island.
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