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VOL. 130 | NO. 98 | Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jobs First

Tennessee launches smartphone app to connect employers, job seekers

By Amos Maki

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Mary Cox was outside the Tennessee Career Center on Walnut Grove Road near Midtown scouring job listings in the hopes she could find employment.

Applicants Iesha Gray, left, and Betsy Thomas take advantage of technology and job-search services offered at the Tennessee Career Center at 3040 Walnut Grove Road.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Cox, 20, had been commuting with a friend to Anthem Career College. When her friend became pregnant and stopped attending the sessions, Cox started showing up at the Career Center to look for a job.

“I came here to get help finding a job so I can pay my bills and be independent,” said Cox, brimming with confidence and good manners.

Now, officials with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development hope to make the job hunt easier. The department recently launched a new iPhone and Android mobile app that brings thousands of available employment opportunities directly to a smartphone.

“A lot of people don’t realize that Tennessee employers have a large inventory of jobs available,” labor commissioner Burns Phillips said. “This app identifies a job seeker’s location and drops pins around it identifying the locations of relevant jobs. It really is amazing technology.”

The new app’s functionality will allow users to access the entire Jobs 4TN Online Services database on an iPhone or Android device, search for a job based on current location using the “Jobs Nearby” function and pinpoint jobs on a map for easy reference. Users also may save and share their favorite jobs via email, Facebook and Twitter, as well as login to their account so that all job search activity is recorded.

Applicant Russell Patterson uses a new smartphone app to locate job openings near his home while using the services at the Tennessee Career Center.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Since Gov. Bill Haslam launched Tennessee’s comprehensive jobs database in May 2012, more than 3.8 million jobs have been posted, and approximately 1.3 million employment referrals have been made, according to the governor’s office

Here’s how it works: The phone’s location is used to display jobs. Keyword searches list the 100 most recently posted jobs in the user’s area. As users scroll through the top 100 jobs, more listings automatically populate to keep the search focused. Icons indicate educational requirements, salary amounts and employment length. Job seekers can “star” or “favorite” jobs.

“You can take it with you and you can access the jobs in your location and you can get jobs alerts when new positions become open,” said Patricia A. Wilson, office manager of workforce services at the labor department.

In addition to the mobile app, the state career centers can help with more traditional needs. Staff members can help job seekers prepare cover letters and resumes and they offer job-training opportunities.

Russell Patterson, 58, was recently seated behind one of the computer work desks scouring the website for available jobs. Patterson, a carpenter by trade, would like to return to his field but at his age, he’s looking for a job that would lead to less wear and tear on his body. He hopes the mobile app can help him find the type of local job he’s been searching for.

“(The app is) very much needed,” he said. “There are people willing to help you so it’s a needed service.”

PROPERTY SALES 103 137 4,008
MORTGAGES 84 131 4,521
BUILDING PERMITS 178 368 9,636
BANKRUPTCIES 50 110 2,995