Workforce Innovation Submitted By:
Susquehanna Workforce Network
BRAC Virtual Job Fair
The Fort Monmouth NJ Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) was expected to bring thousands of new jobs to the Susquehanna MD region, many requiring highly technical skills and experience. Affected employers needed help with regional recruitment. Many of the high-skilled people employers wanted wouldn’t take time off from work to come to a job fair and stand in line. The Susquehanna Workforce Network (SWN) and its partner, The Army Alliance, explored the issue over an 18-month period and came up with the region’s first virtual job fair, which exceeded all expectations and dramatically expanded the candidate pool.
SWN used electronic media to recruit businesses, and attracted job seekers through advertising, postings with professional associations, and social media. Businesses paid $500 to post jobs, another $150 if they wanted an online profile, and an additional $125 for a chat function. During 11 days in December 2009, the WIB's virtual job fair attracted 4,842 visitors looking at more than 300 specialized technical employment opportunities in acquisition, engineering, technology, and general occupations listed by premiere companies such as Aberdeen Proving Grounds, CACI, and LogSec – entities selected for their national reputation and local presence.
Outcomes & Results
Using an on-screen profile, job seekers could apply for one or multiple jobs instantaneously, and 1,466 people from 15 states and Canada did just that. Participating companies were thrilled to participate in such an efficient and cost-effective strategy that attracted high skilled local, regional, and national talent. The virtual job fair helped SWN’s Maryland Transition Centers at Fort Monmouth exceed their goal of increasing by 50 percent the original projection of 28 percent of BRAC personnel relocating from New Jersey to Maryland. In recognition of the virtual job fair and other aspects of the BRAC initiative partnerships, the SWN WIB won NAWB's Theodore E. Small Workforce Partnerships Award in February 2011.