Facebook announced just yesterday a new partnership with the Obama administration and its U.S. Department of Labor aimed at connecting America’s job seekers with some 3 million jobs that are currently unfilled.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced it at the department’s Washington headquarters, saying “our all-star social-media team [is] committed to putting America back to work.”
“Beginning today,” she said, “132 million Facebook users can discover new tools to find out about these job openings and the skills that they will need to get hired. … By leveraging the power of the social web, this initiative will provide immediate, meaningful and ready-to-use information for job seekers and employers, and a modern platform to better connect them.” (Here is DOL’s release about the initiative.)
At first glance, it’s hard to tell just how Facebook will facilitate these connections other than simply listing a host of employment-related links on the page, such as the National Association of Colleges and Employers, DirectEmployers, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, Career One Stop, Job Corps and, of course, DOL.
It’s also hard to determine whether connections with private employers will be just as readily available — and promoted — as public employers. But it definitely includes site links to both sectors and does seem to offer a one-stop shop for information, training programs, educational opportunities, employment-related organizations, job-search resources, and some coaching and counseling help.
Marne Levine, Facebook’s vice president of global public policy, said at the announcement that “Facebook is about connecting people, so that they can share what’s important to them, and that is the driving force behind the [partnership].” She said the new page would fill the “connection gap in America’s workforce.” That’d be nice, if that turns out to be the case.
The page’s general information section does list initiatives “to more effectively leverage the utility of social networks in the job market,” such as conducting surveys, allowing employers to post job openings for free and promoting federal job openings.
Earlier this month, Senior Editor Andrew McIlvaine posted on this blog his report from the HR Technology® Conference’s closing keynote speech by Jim Holincheck, Gartner’s managing vice president for finance, HCM and procurement. Entitled “Welcome to Face-Linked,” it kind of took us into Holincheck’s fantasy of a future where all the major social networks have coalesced into one global platform that would include — in addition to worldwide social connections unburdened by privacy and language restrictions — a worldwide talent-management solution the likes of which we can only imagine.
Am I intimating that this new partnerhsip heads us in that direction? Hardly. So much more would have to be added to something like the Social Jobs Partnership page to turn it into even a suggestion of Holincheck’s global Face-Linked vision. But if his vision really is where social media is heading, then I’d have to guess, for a site as big as Facebook to join hands with the U.S. government to help its citizens find work … well, that could be seen as a first baby step, no?