FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 9, 2021
PORTLAND, Maine — GovWebworks (GWW) has supported the launch of a new workforce development tool in Minnesota. The virtual CareerForce Assistant helps the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) connect employers and job seekers with the content they need to fill and find jobs and build stable careers.
“The CareerForce Assistant is an ideal way to connect more job seekers to services they may not be aware of and help employers to fill jobs,” says GWW Project Manager, Hellen Fitzpatrick. “We value the partnership with DEED and MNIT on this important initiative that can really make a difference for Minnesota’s workforce.”
The new chatbot is located on Minnesota’s CareerForceMN.com, a platform that launched in 2018 to bring together information on job opportunities, community support services, training, and counseling. The goal of the new virtual assistant is to guide job seekers to the resources that can best prepare them to land jobs in stable careers.
“Chatbots can actively engage with audiences, ask them questions, and guide them to important information that might be difficult to find using traditional web menu and navigation systems,” says Adam Kempler, lead developer on the project and head of the GovWebworks AI Lab.
Connecting job seekers with employers
The CareerForce Assistant uses predefined filters that direct visitors to the right content immediately. It also introduces them to programs they may not otherwise know about and may be eligible to access for free. By raising awareness about these services, the chatbot helps DEED meet the goal of connecting more job seekers to programs that could help them, and ultimately to getting more Minnesotans back to work or into stable careers that support their families for the long term.
Conceived and deployed as a collaborative team effort between GWW, DEED, and Minnesota IT Services (MNIT), the chatbot was built on IBM Watson with MNIT ensuring that the chatbot delivers an accessible and intuitive user experience for job seekers and employers, similar to their work on the chatbot for Minnesota’s COVID-19 response site.
DEED programs that contributed to the project included CareerForce and the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which provides services to people who lose their jobs, hours, or income as a result of increased foreign trade activity.
This effort follows a number of GWW initiatives to provide online assistance during Covid-19, including:
- Idaho’s vaccine pre registration system to connect available vaccines with citizens
- United Ways of Maine and 211 Maine’s 211maine.org to find assistance for household and health needs
- Maine Office of Behavioral Health’s StrengthenME.com, which provides free anxiety management and resiliency resources for people experiencing stress reactions from the pandemic
GovWebworks is the primary brand of Portland Webworks (founded in 1999), a software development firm in Portland, Maine, and part of the national movement to improve digital government services. GovWebworks supports public sector agencies in states including Idaho, Washington, Florida, Missouri, Minnesota, and Maine, with innovative, user-centric solutions that deliver immediate impact to citizens. The mission to increase online access to benefits has been especially prescient during the pandemic, with the dramatic increase in remote requests for help. Aligning with organizations like Code for America (CfA) and U.S. Digital Service, GovWebworks is a sponsor of the local CfA brigade, OpenMaine.
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