Labor Department retools Web site, targets youth

In the next couple of months, the Labor Department plans to unveil new Web portals highlighting career and industry information for the younger generation, an audience that still needs attending to in the department's redesigned Web site.

'Youth don't necessarily respond to Web sites in quite the same way as adults do,' said Jean A. O'Donoghue, a Web manager for the department, speaking today in Washington at Technology Excellence in Government seminar on customer relationship management, sponsored in part by Government Computer News and Washington Technology.

In addressing that discrepancy, she said, 'we've actually noticed some gaps that haven't been addressed before.'

She said the department lacked a way for young jobseekers to search for vacant positions by industry category or industry growth. 'There will be some new content, and some repackaging,' O'Donoghue said.

The department is considering naming the portal's gateway www.youth2work.gov, and it will be linked to another youth-oriented Web site that the department also is building in conjunction with the Education Department.

Based on a recommendation by the White House's Domestic Policy Council, Labor and Education are drafting www.emergingcareers.gov, an interagency portal aimed at young people without degrees entering or changing their careers, and parents and counselors guiding that transition.

The new youth sites also should contain information on labor laws and topics such as minimum wage, child worker and health safety information that members of that age group might not realize pertain to them.

The planned Web sites are part of an overall retooling of the Labor Department's online appearance, content and infrastructure that began on Labor Day in 2001 to make the site more user-friendly to average surfers.

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