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Of Note

(April 11, 2007) There's going to be a hole where there used to be an America's Job Bank (AJB). In a move that we heartily support (having wondered often in this column why the government is competing with industry in classified advertising), the US Congress is letting go of its support of the government jobs site as of July 1, 2007. Currently, the original vendor (Navisite) and Direct Employers are both offering "alternatives". We'll try to make sense of the story and point out a couple of key questions.

Here are some baseline references:

  •  "NaviSite…today announced that the Company will continue to operate the America's Job Bank (AJB). NaviSite will continue to offer services to its clients, constituents, employers and job seekers without any interruption in service and at no charge when the funding for the AJB program ends in July 2007."


    The company has a new address at www.americasjobbank2.com that retains the look of the current AJB system. (Job Search Engine Guide)


  • Here's the FAQ from the America's Job Exchange Website.
  • Job Central's FAQ on the Issue (A good deal more informative on substance)
  • Direct Employers announcement of their competing service.

If you quickly scan Workforce's article on the subject, you'll see that Navisite and Direct Employers / Job Central are positioning themselves as successor systems. Unfortunately, all of the smoke conceals the fact that there are major assets at stake in this transition. None of the competitors are talking about them.

  • Any system that proposes to "replace" AJB will need its traffic. AJB.org has over 1,000 inbound links which account for its traffic. The domain name is a major asset and its disposition will make the difference in the transition.
  • The history of traffic records, response performance and behavior on the AJB site are significant assets that merit a public disclosure. How the two competing services plan to compete without this data is a question that should be asked.
  • It's reasonable to assume that AJB contains other assets that should be made available to the taxpayers who funded them.

Traffic and job seekers are the paramount deliverables of any job board system. It's really interesting that no one seems to be asking how the two competitors intend to supply traffic, in what volumes and to what demographic criteria. Organizations and technology are lovely, lovely things. The question is "how do these new players plan to deliver real results?"

On a separate front, we wonder why small employers should feel comfortable about large organizations banding together to manage a national labor exchange. The local markets are in particularly tight positions, especially in the areas served by AJB and the One Stop services. It seems like putting large employers in charge of this endeavor is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

The real problem, however, is that both Navistar and Direct Employers are offering safe harbor where there is none. Noticeable in its absence is any assurance that either system offers OFCCP compliance in the way that America's Job Board did. The OFCCP and the DOL issued a ruling that posting to AJB met the compliance requirements for OFCCP advertising. Neither of the proposed systems meet this hurdle. This was the sole reason that major corporations used the job bank.

AJB was always the most aggravating job board to use. No corporation has ever reported broad success from its use. However, every government contractor was required to use it. The new entrants don't have that regulatory backbone.

The real question here is whether the government will meet its current responsibility to make compliance with OFCCP regulations possible. The posturing for commercial opportunity seems counter-productive. We'd like to know exactly how companies are going to be able to be compliant after AJB shuts down. In an ideal world, OFCCP would make compliance possible by simply publishing an opening on the company website. The business of manipulating the market creates the opportunistic behavior we're witnessing.

John Sumser - © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved. . Permalink . - . Today's Bugler. - . Send To a Friend

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