Tue, Sep 5, 2023 6:13 PM
By Merrilee Gasser, The Center Square
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Workforce Cabinet is developing an online portal to make the job search process easier, Chief Workforce Officer Mike Rogers said Tuesday.
The portal will work like eHarmony meets Indeed, Rogers told members of the Joint Education Committee.
“I don’t think the companies have as much as a talent acquisition problem, I think they have a matching problem,” Rogers said. “I don’t think they know who to date. I don’t think they know who to incentivize and how to court them and bring them in.”
He said he also wants the portal to blend aspects of Google Maps and Netflix so job seekers could click on a map of Arkansas and see opportunities that fit their interests, enabling them to make “intelligent decisions” about where to navigate their careers.
The portal will be released to the public on Jan. 1.
“You’ve got to meet people where they are. We’ve got to cast a vision. We’ve got to let them see the potential of what they can do and put them in the driver's’ seat. And that’s what this workforce strategy is intended to do for the governor and for the state,” Rogers said.
The governor created the workforce cabinet through an executive order in February to advise on workforce development and career education issues. Its members include representatives from the departments of Commerce, Corrections, Education, Human Services, Labor and Licensing, and Veterans Affairs.
The cabinet is gathering more information on what employers are looking for on Thursday during a public employers’ forum meeting.
“We’ve not done a good job of this as a state of listening to the customer,” Rogers said. “The voice of the customer will allow for the companies that specialize in this to tell us what they need and then us respond to it.”
The presentation spanned all the departments in the workforce cabinet, including how K-12 education and higher education institutions fit into the picture.
Sen. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, asked about higher education programs reported to be at full capacity.
“Are they full or are they at capacity based on staffing and other things that might determine, for example, they might be able to put 300 students in the seat but limitations and things like instructors might keep them at the 150 mark?” Hammer asked.
Cody Waits, the Arkansas Office of Skills Development director, said it was the latter.
“Finding and retaining quality talent is a major issue,” said Waits.