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Rhode Island launches cloud-based job platform

To help Rhode Islanders displaced by the pandemic find new jobs, the state partnered with Google Cloud to launch an easy-to-use platform that matches residents with new jobs and careers.

The Virtual Career Center (VCC) is part of the state’s Back to Work RI workforce initiative, a public-private partnership formed in July 2020 to train, support and hire thousands of Rhode Islanders that COVID-19 left unemployed.

The VCC‘s artificial intelligence-powered CareerCompass chatbot, named “Skipper,” connects Rhode Islanders with potential new career paths and reskilling opportunities. The platform uses Google productivity tools such as video calling via Google Meet, collaboration through Google Docs and screen sharing for the job seekers and career coaches. 

With these tools state residents can take advantage of job placement and career development services such as virtual meetings with career coaches who are paired with job seekers based on the coach’s areas of expertise and language fluency. The platform also offers residents help on building effective resumes and allows them to schedule meetings with prospective employers. What’s more, the platform supports virtual job fairs with local employers.

Unlike other workforce development programs that match job seekers with existing positions, Back to Work RI, partners directly with businesses to identify sectors in need of talent, form flexible partnerships and training-related programs so Rhode Islanders get the skills they need to secure well-paying jobs in growing industries. The program also secures funding to cover a participants’ transportation, childcare and education costs as needed. 

The VCC is powered by several Google Cloud technologies, including BigQuery, Cloud SQL, Cloud Storage, Cloud Talent API, Vision API and Google Workspace. The platform was created in partnership with MavenWave, which built the application interface. 

“Rhode Island is the first state in the country to use AI/ML and Google Workspace to deploy a job search platform at this scale,” said Mike Daniels, vice president, Global Public Sector, Google Cloud. “We hope that the integrated experience provided by our technology will help job seekers hit the ground running.”

“COVID-19 has left thousands of Rhode Islanders unemployed and searching for new, sustainable careers,” said Sarah Blusiewicz, assistant director of workforce development for Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training. “Our collaboration with Google Cloud has married accessible technology with government innovation to train and connect workers with the resources they need to access in-demand jobs.” 

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