Before JobsEQ: Struggling to Match Job Seekers with Real-Time Jobs
For over 30 years, the Northwest Arkansas Council has helped shape the development of Northwest Arkansas, a three-county region near the beautiful, expansive Ozark Mountains. In fact, Northwest Arkansas was 3rd in job growth of comparable areas between 2013 and 2018.
But Northwest Arkansas had a problem: matching over 100,000 students and job seekers to all those new jobs.
“Too often, we ask students to make important career decisions without any information!” says Joe Rollins, Director of Workforce Development at Northwest Arkansas Council. “They are making decisions without a grip on real-time data, purely based on perception. That’s not fair to them. How can we expect our students to find the right career path if we don’t offer the best information possible?”
The Solution: Three Steps
Northwest Arkansas found their solution in Chmura’s JobsEQ and Career Concourse software tools.
“Our goal is to fill workforce gaps and JobsEQ is central to that,” says Rollins.
Here’s how they did it:
1. Changing Lives with Career Concourse
First, Northwest Arkansas Council invested in JobsEQ and Career Concourse.
“For years, students of all ages have been subjected to career navigators and aptitude tests that lead them to generalities and offer vague direction on career options,” says Rollins. “Career Concourse allows our region to gain real-time local information about real careers, real career data, and real employers. Career Concourse is changing lives in Northwest Arkansas.”
2. Creating A One-Stop Hub for Job Seekers That Got 20k+ Visitors
Next, Northwest Arkansas Council created a beautiful, user-friendly website to spread awareness. Careers NWA pulls data directly from JobsEQ and gives visitors access to Career Concourse. Through this online tool, job seekers can find careers related to their degree and search real-time job postings in their community.
“JobsEQ and Career Concourse have allowed us to create a one stop hub for our region's job seekers, and have allowed us to have a consistent, current learning tool for our students, families and employers,” says Rollins.”
The results? Since the site went up in 2020, over 20,000 unique users have visited the site, with 5,200 streaming in from November 2020 to January 2021 alone.
“I know several out-of-state people who saw the site and then landed a career here in Northwest Arkansas,” says Rollins. “A lot of those folk work in the medical and IT fields. And they all say: ‘I can’t believe I didn’t know this site was here! Now that I’ve found it, I’m telling my friends.’”
Northwest Arkansas Council has used JobsEQ data to turn careersnwa.com into a fantastic connection tool. And it doesn’t stop there.
3. Winning a Grant to Attract New Talent
Winning a grant to attract new talent? No problem. In 2020, Northwest Arkansas Council used JobsEQ to prove that there are 1,600 open jobs in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) occupations in the region. Armed with JobsEQ data, they won a grant from the Walton Family Foundation Private Philanthropy Group that allowed the Council to offer $10,000/person cash incentives for out-of-state professionals to move to the region. Northwest Arkansas Council is grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for their support, and to the Chmura team for the data that made everything happen! And if you want to call Northwest Arkansas home, you can apply for their “Life Works Here” program. Click here for more information.
Making Northwest Arkansas a Talent Magnet
For any organization, implementing a career hub website, winning a grant to attract new talent, turning educators into career coaches, and helping student and adult job seekers are massive accomplishments. But NWA continues to push the boundaries on how to use data to connect job-seekers and employers.
Putting JobsEQ Data on Kiosks in Malls and Airports
"Thanks to additional support from the Walton Family Foundation, In the next few months, we’re going to put up large in-person career kiosks in pedestrian areas like the airport, the Student Union in universities, and malls,” says Rollins. “Those kiosks will have 6-ft touchscreen monitors that allow people to directly interact with the Careers NWA website! We want to attract people moving through Northwest Arkansas and get them to stay.” Rollins and his team are again grateful to the Walton Family Foundation to make these career kiosks possible.
How to Delight Local Employers
What would make any employer excited? Having instant access to thousands of resumes of local job-seekers.
“By Summer 2021, students and adult job seekers will be able to upload their resume to our Careers NWA site, which allows local employers to instantly query that resume bank and find the talent they need,” says Rollins.
With real-time data, innovative outreach, and bold ideas, Northwest Arkansas Council is solving the problem of matching job seekers to jobs. Their efforts are making Northwest Arkansas a regional talent magnet.
The Chmura Difference
“The customer support and care Chmura has offered have been outstanding. We look forward to our continued partnership,” says Rollins.
Over the past five years, Northwest Arkansas Council has consistently trusted the Chmura team to be their partner in labor market analysis. Check out their client timeline here!
Chmura is proud to partner with an organization like Northwest Arkansas Council, who are finding innovative ways to help people find work! If you would like to join our community of JobsEQ users, schedule your demo today. We’d love to talk to you.