On June 6, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Wagner-Peyser Act into law, establishing a nationwide network of public employment service offices. These offices played a key role in economic recovery from the Great Depression by referring jobless workers to available private sector jobs as well as to newly created public works and public service jobs. These services are commonly referred to as the “labor exchange” process.
The labor exchange serves both sides of the job market; job seekers looking for work and employers looking to hire. The job seekers are customarily referred to as the supply side of the job market. Labor exchange customers on the demand side are employers looking to fill current or anticipated openings.
Locally, staff funded by the Wagner-Peyser Act continue to serve as an integral part of the national One-Stop delivery system established by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
Employment services provided through funding from the Wagner-Peyser Act are available to all workers; those with jobs looking for better career opportunities, those who have lost their jobs and are seeking reemployment, and those seeking employment for the first time. Some examples of services available for job seekers are:
- Internet-based job postings, resume preparation, virtual recruiting and skills assessment tools.
- Access to resource rooms with computer aids and staff assistance.
- Individualized job screening, job matching, and counseling.
Because of funding reductions and dramatic technological advances, principally the World Wide Web, our staff have moved from individualized assistance to more group-oriented services. Local centers employ staff funded by the Wagner-Peyser Act to provide or assist with workshops to assist job seekers. Some workshops provide general information designed as an orientation to the resources available at the center, while others may target a specific group of job seekers, such as Unemployment Insurance claimants or first-time job seekers. Another group service available at some centers is a job club or job search network or support group. Job clubs bring together groups of unemployed individuals who meet to support one another and share job-finding tips or job referrals.
All of our centers have resource rooms, which are areas in the center containing computers for use by job seekers, along with a wide range of self-help information and services available through both the computer and printed materials. Resource rooms also offer fax machines, copiers, and phones for use by customers. While containing many self-help services, resource rooms also provide trained staff to assist first-time job seekers and to provide a “triage” function to identify those customers who may have substantial barriers to employment and require more in-depth staff assisted services.
Employers are also served by listing job vacancies, sending referrals of suitable job candidates to fill vacancies, and providing information on local labor market activity. Each of our facilities is equipped to provide services to employers such as private interviewing facilities, access to modern office equipment such as fax machines, computers with internet access, telephones, and copiers.