Web 2.

0 and the Challenge of Developing Re-employment Networks for the Public Workforce System
Ed Morrison Purdue University Center for Regional Development 1. Recognize the importance of Web 2.0 tools in job-search. The Internet is our first interactive mass medium; it is changing the way we work, learn and play. Social networking tools including  Linked In, Facebook, Twitter are vital tools in job searching now.  The public workforce system should be a center for learning about these new tools of reemployment. 2. Lessen the controls on Web 2.0 tools. For the public workforce system to become a hub of learning about new re-employment tools, we will have to revise policies that restrict the use of these tools on public workforce system computers. 3.  Learn for yourself. These tools are evolving rapidly, and there are no set guidelines on how to use the most effectively. The best way to guide others is to use them yourself. The public workforce system should encourage each One Stop to set up a Facebook.  The US Department of Labor should also encourage the public workforce staff to  build networks on Linked In and use a Twitter account   to keep people informed of what's happening in the regional economy.  (See how a small township is using Twitter to keep citizens informed: http://twitter.com/bathpd) 4. Reach out to a digital native, don't hesitate to ask for help. People generally under 40 years old grew up in the world of digital technology. They are native to this world. People over 40 are immigrants. The immigrants need to reach out to the natives to help them understand the power of these new technologies. If our digital immigrants engage with digital natives, they will see a new world unfold before them.   5. Encourage peer group learning; set up multiple user groups. The best way to learn new digital technologies of Web 2.0 is to work together in small groups of like-minded people and share ideas. The public workforce system should be encouraging One Stop centers to hold continuous workshops to teach how these tools can help people reconnect to their regional economy. 6. Focus on building networks with these tools. Re-employment increasingly is about building resilient networks. One Stops can be very helpful in both designing and mapping these networks.   In the years ahead, one-stop should become network hubs, where people go to understand and engage with these networks of employers and educational institutions in the local economy.

Re-employment Pathways

Business grows after retraining tied to new strategy

New firm, new industry

New firm, same industry 1 4 3 Growth Start-up 2 Business struggles with weak strategy 5 6 Life style selfemployment Lower skill, lower pay employment Formal training

Business fails or downsizes Unemployment One Stops

7 8 Retirement 9 Continued unemployment

Charting re-employment pathways
These pathways are approximate. They do not represent exclusive either/or choices for an individual. So, for example, a person might take a lower paying job (Path 7), while at the same time pursuing a new job in a new industry (Path 4). This map is designed to help workforce development professionals focus on the networks that they can build to leverage their resources. 1 The re-employment process begins with a business saddled with a failing strategy. Faced with this situation, a business can opt to take a new strategic direction and develop training programs that support the new strategy. The current workforce gains new skills to improve productivity and accelerate innovation. Alternatively, the firm can do little or nothing to change its strategic direction. In response to market forces, the firm starts job-sharing, downsizes significantly, or goes out of business. Unemployed workers now face several different pathways. Some workers may be able to move quickly to firms and closely related businesses. This transition can take place without additional training. Other workers may decide to change their career path and complete a formal training program that enables them to find a new job and a new industry. A small number of unemployed workers may decide to launch a growth oriented spin-off business, commonly based on skills, intellectual property, or business experience they gained at their old employer. Alternatively, some workers may decide to become self-employed in their own lifestyle business. Some workers may reluctantly decide to take lower skilled jobs at lower wages. Some workers may simply retire. Some workers stay unemployed.


3 4


6 7 8 9

Source: Ed Morrison, Purdue Center for Regional Development and I-Open Distributed under a Creative Commons 3.0 license

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