by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
Among items in the news today was the launch of NCWorks Online, a job search site run by the state. WRAL reported,
The North Carolina Department of Commerce launched a new job-search website Monday that’s expected to save the state more than $10.2 million over the next five years while connecting employers and job-seekers to one another.
And I thought, “Wait, don’t we already have sites that do that?” Yes, it turns out we do, as WRAL confirmed in the very next paragraph.
The $1.2 million NCWorks Online is a no-fee service that allows anyone looking for a job to search through postings pulled from thousands of websites, including job-search engines such as Monster, CareerBuilder and even classified ads on eBay.
So we already have job search sites being provided privately – an abundance of them. It doesn’t sound to me like NCWorks Online is really offering anything fundamentally different. In fact, it is compiling existing information from those very websites, the privately-provided ones. How much value does that really add? How much did it cost us to create? Is that the $1.2 million number? How much does it cost to maintain?
Don’t get me wrong; I certainly want to see people getting into jobs. I’m all for saving money through moving people from unemployment to work. But this is a service that is ALREADY BEING PROVIDED by the private sector. Does the state really need to get involved? How many people will find work through this site who wouldn’t have found work otherwise? I have a hard time believing that’s a large number, enough to justify the costs.
I think NCWorks Online reveals a larger attitude of government that is always problematic. There seems to be a belief that, if something needs to be done, then it needs to be done by the state. People need to be connected with jobs. That is true. But that can happen in lots of ways without any need for taxpayer funding. There are job sites like the ones mentioned above. There are networking sites like LinkedIn. I see signs up outside of businesses telling me they’re hiring. I hear about jobs from friends. There is a plethora of sources for information about jobs that don’t need to be provided or paid for by the state.
So thank you, North Carolina, for recognizing that it is good to get people into jobs. But rather than taxing individuals and businesses to create this sort of website, let us keep our cash. We can do this at least as well as you can.