Monday, June 25, 2012

The Phenomenal Success of

In reviewing the metrics for the domain for 2011, not many things stand out more than the number of online job referrals issued.  The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) has done an amazing job of using technology to help get people back to work in Utah.  It is totally committed to the online channel and to in its support of Governor Herbert's priority of building the economy.

In 2011, 10,481,154 job referrals were issued online.  That's a big number.  It's over a million and a half greater than the number in 2010, which was already significant.  It's also helped keep Utah's unemployment numbers well below the national average.  Making it simple for job-seekers to connect with Utah businesses is not just important, but critical to driving Utah's economic success.

Here's a few ideas that make online services so successful:

  • Open ID: was probably one of the first state sites in the country to use Open ID and OAuth.   If users merely want to apply for a job and receive job referrals, they can use their Facebook or GMail account to sign up for services.  Or if they don't want to use those, they can sign up for a OpenID.  If they need something that requires additional levels of authentication, they can do that later.
  • Facebook and Twitter: Workforce Services has done an excellent job of integrating social media into their outreach and marketing program.  If you're looking for a specific job, you can have the latest jobs fed to you through one of 22 different functional Twitter feeds.  If you're more into Facebook, get the latest online and on-site recruitment bulletins through the Department's Facebook page.
  • GeoIP Integration with In 2011, we added access to the latest jobs in your area to the GeoIP services available through the portal.  So if you're say, in Sugarhouse, and you pull up on your smartphone, it will identify where you are and let you know what the latest jobs are that are available in that area.
  • The Utah Economy blog: All of these services wouldn't be complete without a good blog to provide current information about the Utah Economy.
  • Utah Futures: Utah DWS collaborates with Utah K-12 and Utah higher education to support this career information service.  Utah students are trained on using the site fairly early on and information is provided through student counsellors to parents as well.  Utah Futures also supports mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms.
A Simple Comparison

Arkansas has done a great job with their website.  In 2011, they were rated #1 in the Best of the Web competition by the Center for Digital Government.  Their site is well-designed and has many useful services. provides many similar services to the Utah jobs website. It is colorful and friendly.  It certainly does a good job of serving Arkansas citizens.  And, Arkansas has done a good job of keeping people employed with a jobless rate that is almost a full percent below the national average.

Unique Visitors in May 2012 (source: - 48,645 - 365,123

Statewide Population (July 2011)
Arkansas - 2,937,979
Utah - 2,817,222

Unemployment Rate
Arkansas - 7.3%
Utah - 6.0%
National Rate: 8.2%

Certainly, there are many more factors involved in statewide and national employment.  I'm simply using this example to encourage states to continue to innovate.  We're still just scratching the service of what is really possible.

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