Regional Databases Match Workers with Jobs

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A New Skills Database is Changing the Way People Find Work

by Kim Hutchinson

A new skills database at Workforce Windsor Essex is changing the way people find work, and it's also helping to bring employers to Windsor.

Part of what makes the WEskills Database unique is technical: "It's the only one where you can keyword search for skills," says Veronica Samek, Communications Director at Workforce Windsor Essex. "There are tons of job openings, but they're very specific." The new system works with the City of Windsor and employment centres to match jobs with specific skills. The system was a pilot project last year, and is now in its first year of operation. So far, Workforce Windsor Essex has nearly 1,200 resumes on file.

The new system has a second benefit, one to the entire community. "It works on two levels," says Donna Marentette, Executive Director. "It's also a high-level attraction tool for new business." When Dynamic Solutions, an oil and gas company from Red Deer, Alberta, was looking at Windsor, they saw the number of skilled workers in the region, and it was a part of their decision to build a new manufacturing facility here. "The number one decision for a company to move into an area is a skilled workforce," says Marentette. If we're able to provide skills in an area, it's very attractive."

The idea for the system came out of the Labour Adjustment Committee, which was set up a couple of years ago. "The credit goes to the labour adjustment folks," says Marentette. "They asked us: 'When is economic development going to sell our skills?' It's a real success story." And, it's a success story that is just beginning. Apparently, the Dynamic Solutions team were thrilled that they had 30 applicants that matched their criteria perfectly. As the system gets bigger, the match numbers can only get better. And, it's also an advantage that sets our city apart from other regions. "It's very unique to our area," says Marentette. For more information about the database, contact Workforce Windsor Essex at info@workforcewindsoressex.com, or call 519-255-6545.

The City of Windsor also runs an employment database that tries to match workers with jobs. According to Ursula Ostapovitch, Job Developer with Employment & Training Services, the city actively contacts employers and locates potential openings to help their clients with their job search. If employers are looking for a specific skill and it's not in the city's database, the city's Employment & Training Services department contacts Workforce Windsor Essex. There may be even more coordination between the two databases in the future. The city also offers workshops and other job search assistance. "You can walk in off the street and register with us, and everything is free," says Ostapovitch. Find out more at http://www.careerdevelopmentwindsor.com/.