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Twinsburg Public Library offers unique job search tool

May 17, 2016

TalentNEO, a pilot program operating in Summit and Cuyahoga County, is matching prospective employees with employers through skill-based testing, according to Michelle Collins, project manager for ConxusNEO, formerly Summit Workforce Solutions.

And the Twinsburg Public Library is now one of seven official Summit County testing sites, and the only one outside Akron. The tests are taken on the library’s computers, in the computer lab.

“It’s an innovative way to connect job seekers to jobs,” Collins said. “It focuses on skills that job seekers bring to the table.”

TalentNEO uses WorkKeys assessments, a product of ACT Inc., which also provides the ACT college readiness test. According to ACT.org, WorkKeys tests have been used for more than 20 years to assess “real world” skills.

Prospective employees are tested in applied math, locating information and reading for information, with test questions that mimic workplace experiences. Crystal Feyerchak, continuing education librarian for Twinsburg Public Library, oversees and schedules tests, by appointment, on the first and second Thursday mornings of the month.

Tests are timed, with a 55-minute limit for each. They are scored as levels, with passing levels from three to seven.

“Someone looking for employment or an employee looking for advancement can take the tests,” Feyerchak said.

Practice tests can be found at OhioMeansJobs.com, under “Online Training” at the bottom of the home page. Those who need a little coaching to pass the tests can get help on the same page.

Each suite of tests — and practice tests — is free, with the $28.50 cost paid through the pilot program’s $1.5 million budget, funded through Ohio Means Jobs and several private foundations, according to Jill Rizika, executive director of TalentNEO and Cuyahoga County nonprofit, Towards Employment.

The pilot program has a licensing agreement from ACT for 2,000 tests through June 30, 2017. More than 200 people have taken the test in Summit County, according to ConxusNEO president, Sue Lacy.

“The number is growing each month,” she said.

Lacy said about 20 businesses have partnered with TalentNEO, promising interviews to job applicants who meet the designated scores for the posted positions. TalentNEO’s focus is manufacturing and technology jobs that pay more than minimum wage, which is $8.10 per hour.

“We are focused on jobs that pay at least $15 an hour, or jobs with a clear career path that leads to a much more sustainable wage,” Lacy said.

Jenny Stupica is a ConxusNEO board member and human resources manager for Twinsburg’s SSP, on Boyle Parkway, one of the partner businesses with TalentNEO. The company, which manufactures stainless steel tube fittings, pipe fittings and valves, has 185 employees.

“We had an employee take the WorkKeys assessment who is interested in moving into a maintenance mechanic position,” Stupica said. “If he is able to bump up to that position, we can put the position he’s leaving on WorkKeys.”

Every job posted to the OhioMeansJobs.com website is scored automatically based on the job descriptions regardless if they are TalentNEO partners, Lacy said.

“When they post a job, the algorithm automatically scores the information based upon 20,000 job profiles,” Lacy said.

Once the tests are scored, a job seeker can add the scores to their job search on OhioMeansJobs to see all positions that require their skills, Collins said.

Collins suggested that test scores can lead someone to apply for a job they hadn’t considered.

“The program focuses on the skills that job seekers bring to the table,” she said. “It helps them think a little differently about their skills.”

Lacy said the pilot program should determine whether or not WorkKeys is a useful tool for job seekers as well as companies looking for talent.

“If that’s the case, we would expect to scale this up after the pilot period,” she said.

The program is being received well, and Lacy is excited about that.

“Companies are interested in interviewing people who have matching scores,” she said. “We’re excited about getting interviews for people who don’t have degrees or experience – people with great skills through life experiences.”

Read original article here.

“Twinsburg Public Library offers unique job search tool.” Twinsburg Bulletin. Retrieved from  http://www.twinsburgbulletin.com/news%20local/2016/05/18/twinsburg-library-offers-new-job-search-tool (17 May 2016).