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Would-Be Replacement for America’s Job Bank Gets Backing

The planned exchange is a new service designed to take the place of America’s Job Bank, the U.S. Labor Department’s free online job site that is set to expire on June 30.

September 16, 2011
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An effort by a private-sector group to replace America’s Job Bank has received a key endorsement.

Last week, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies announced it is backing and will help run the JobCentral National Labor Exchange. The exchange is a service designed to take the place of America’s Job Bank, the U.S. Labor Department’s free online job site set to expire June 30.

The association is a group of state administrators who focus on programs and services provided through publicly funded state workforce systems. The exchange is owned and managed by the DirectEmployers Association, a nonprofit consortium of U.S. employers.

Through the new partnership, NASWA will play a role in governing the exchange, along with the DirectEmployers Association and participating states, says NASWA executive director Richard Hobbie.

“The essence of the agreement is an endorsement and a willingness to work with DirectEmployers,” he says.

The JobCentral exchange “will play a prominent role in helping employers build their workforce and comply with state and federal regulations by serving as our nation’s only online cross-state labor exchange and distributing job listings to the state and local level,” Bill Warren, executive director of DirectEmployers, said in a statement. “It will be invaluable as a replacement for the role America’s Job Bank has played in helping employers meet federal job posting requirements for affirmative action plans and Jobs for Veterans Act compliance.”

Last year, the Labor Department said it planned to phase out America’s Job Bank, arguing that maintaining and improving the site no longer makes sense “given that AJB duplicates what is already available in the private sector.”

But the decision to shutter the site has raised a number of questions, including how companies will meet compliance needs. There are also concerns about possible harm to smaller employers and lower-skilled job seekers.

Hobbie says the exchange will answer those latter concerns in participating states.

So far, no states have signed up officially. But Warren is hopeful.

“We’ve gotten really good interest from the states,” he says.

—Ed Frauenheim

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