Facebook to set up 'online job fair' in partnership with Obama officials

The Obama administration announced a partnership with Facebook Thursday to help Americans find jobs.

"[The partnership] represents the Obama administration's strong commitment to customer service on the most important issue of our time: helping people find employment and work," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said.

Solis said the goal of the partnership is to connect employers with people looking for employment. The initiative will allow the Labor Department to provide information and resources to the millions of users on Facebook, Solis said.

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"At DOL we have the content to engage, assist and connect unemployed Americans with employers. At Facebook, they have the audience, the people plugged into, on a large scale, on the World Wide Web," she said.

As part of the partnership, Facebook created a "Social Jobs Partnership" page to provide job information and resources to users. "Think of this as a free online job fair that can be accessed seven days a week, day or night," said Marne Levine, Facebook's vice president of global public policy. 

The page will offer Labor Department resources, including job listings and job search services, along with resources from partnering nonprofits.

Facebook will target public announcements to users in the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates and Puerto Rico. The announcements will include information about job resources available in the users' area.

Levine also said Facebook plans to invest in developing new social technologies to help people find jobs.

"Our labor market is changing and so should the tools that are used to find these jobs," Levine said.

When asked whether the initiative is an attempt to compete with the job services offered by social network LinkedIn, a Facebook spokesman said, "We are simply creating a central location for employment services for people who are on Facebook, because we want to connect job seekers to the resources available to them. This is not a competitive service, it's a public service."

A Labor Department spokesman said the agency's effort to reach out to social media companies is still in its infancy.

"This is just the beginning, folks. Going forward we will reach out to other leaders in the social networking arena, from Twitter to LinkedIn to the next big thing on the social media horizon," Solis said.

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