Smaller Web site will swallow the larger one

Smaller Web site will swallow the larger one

The most visible change stemming from the merger of Ohio's Bureau of Employment Services and Human Services Department will be on the Web.

Both agencies currently run their own job-posting sites, which will eventually be combined.

Each side's site has unique strengths. Ohio JobNet Online, run by the Bureau of Employment Services, is more established. Developed over 10 years and run by the OBES staff, JobNet posted 198,000 jobs last year. Some 100,000 job seekers found jobs through it.

OhioWorks, the ODHS site, posted 3,000 jobs last year and has no tracking function to tell whether the site helped someone get a job. ODHS outsources the site's systems engineering and operations.

Nevertheless, an assessment by the Battelle Institute of Columbus, Ohio found that OhioWorks should be the long-term platform for the combined agency.

'The capabilities of Ohio JobNet can be more easily integrated into OhioWorks than vice versa,' the report said.

'OhioWorks features a more modern look, capability and technology. All of its functionality is Web-enabled, and its computing platform appears to be scalable to accommodate quantum increases in data and Web sessions,' the report said.

OhioWorks also provides greater breadth of information, such as childcare, training and career development, than JobNet. It also has more recognizable Web address: www.ohioworks.com vs. www.obes.org. The OBES site requires more clicks to get to usable data, the report said.

Mark Birnbrich, who will be deputy director of the Office of Management Information Services for the new agency, said management of the OhioWorks site will be brought in house and OBES staff will be retrained for the new system.

Teamwork needed

Another issue was getting the two Web site groups to work together. Karen Turner, an OBES employee who has been named to the team that will combine the two sites, said her first reaction was, 'Oh, no!'

'I'm proud of our system and the way we help people find jobs. I couldn't picture how the two different systems could ever get together,' she said. Yet so far, Turner said, she is impressed with the willingness of the OhioWorks staff to use elements of JobNet.

Two application servers support OhioWorks: Compaq ProLiant 8000s, each with four 550-MHz Pentium III processors, 4G of RAM and two 9G hard drives. They run Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, plus Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0, ColdFusion Professional Server 4.01 from Allaire Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., and PCAnywhere from Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif.

The data server is a Compaq ProLiant 8000 with eight 550-MHz Pentium III processors, 5G of RAM and four 9G hard drives. The database is Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 running under NT 4.0.

The servers are connected via Fast Ethernet lines to a switch from 3Com Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif.

The fourth server, the firewall, is a Compaq ProLiant 3000 with two 400-MHz Pentium II processors, 1.3G of RAM and two 9G hard drives. The firewall server runs Check Point Firewall-1 4.1 from Check Point Software Technologies Inc. of Redwood City, Calif. It sits between the 3Com Switch and a Cisco 2611 Series Router from Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif.

'Merry Mayer

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