Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 39 million American workers were predicted to lose their jobs to automation by 2030. The pandemic accelerated and amplified the looming skills gap challenge into an immediate crisis. Now, more than ever, states need a steady market for job training, reskilling, and hiring.
However, as Americans struggle with stagnating wages and inflation, they must rely on outdated and impersonal career tools and services to find new jobs and reskilling opportunities. Meanwhile, employers struggling to recover from the pandemic face avoidable friction in filling open positions. Many government mainframe systems are siloed, segmenting data instead of combining it to create a full-view profile of users needing social services. State leaders are relegated to making policy decisions that impact economic recovery with minimal data-driven insights.
Addressing these challenges requires thoughtful consideration and causal evidence of which approaches, programs, and investments will best connect job seekers with skills and opportunities for meaningful careers and employers with ready and able workers for continued economic growth and prosperity.
To solve this challenge, RIPL’s policy experts, technologists, and scientists created the Data for Opportunity in Occupation Reskilling Solution (“DOORS”). This job discovery system uses state labor data to provide a personalized career path and reskilling recommendations, as well as effective employment matches that help state partners make measurable progress against America’s opportunity gap.
DOORS is made up of two key systems:
1) The DOORS Recommendation Engine is a job-matching and exploration tool that makes personalized career recommendations based on a user’s unique work history, skillset, and career goals. Recommendations are data-driven, individual to the user, and personalized through causal science, unlike other job-seeking tools advertised today. DOORS measures the success of a job seeker who has transitioned or completed a specific training program versus a similar job seeker who did not make a similar career transition or participate in a particular training program. Users can be confident that this type of data-driven, causal inference enables jobseekers to make more informed career and upskilling decisions.
2) The DOORS Ready Hire Portal is an employment matching tool that connects employers to qualified candidates with the skills required to fill open positions and who are ready and willing to work. The tool surfaces opted-in candidates directly to busy employers and hiring managers with easy-to-use texting tools that streamline matches directly from the unemployment system to resilient and bright career pathways.
The success of DOORS is that it puts cloud computing to work to deploy customized dashboards that unlock data and provides policy leaders with real-time insights about the effectiveness of their state’s workforce development programs and policies. The system helps leaders deliver the best value to state residents from the state’s workforce investments while providing automated reporting that frees up valuable staff time for analysis.
Being cloud-based enables DOORS to flexibly integrate with other state systems such as Unemployment Insurance (“UI”) to monitor compliance with work search requirements by surfacing 2-3 relevant jobs for claimants to apply to, meeting the weekly certification requirements and accelerating a claimant’s return to work. By connecting to live feeds of data across agencies, DOORS easily extends into a one-stop shop and resource hub where jobseekers and families quickly have access to all the tools they need and referrals to benefits and support (e.g., SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid) to successfully find their next career and support their families through the transition.
With DOORS now live in Hawaii with the launch of the HI CAN system, we’re seeing positive results as UI applicants connect directly to benefits and jobs. Hawaii demonstrated that states have valuable data at their disposal that can be used to help job seekers. When these data are leveraged by cloud computing and innovative systems to their full potential, citizens benefit from a more integrated, user-friendly experience in accessing government services online. Other states can achieve these results by embracing innovative technology practices and partnering with technology teams invested in improving lives by bringing state government systems into the 21st century.
The author, Scott Jensen, is the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of External Affairs of Research Improving People’s Lives (RIPL)