Ashley Gross, marketing manager for Atlanta-based Rural Sourcing, said the effort is working. She joined the June chat for Ask TED, which stands for “type, explore, discover,” and quickly found specifics on an upcoming job fair and how often the agency updates its job listings, a top priority because she often posts employment opportunities.
“That’s different from a few years ago when there was a big disconnect between the department and the business community,” Gross said.
About 90 businesspeople participated in the Ask TED chat, and the discussion, archived on the department’s website, has been replayed more than 120 times, department spokesman Sam Hall said. A previous chat in February for job seekers attracted about 70 people.
The department said most of the improvements, like Ask TED, have minimal costs because they use existing staff and volunteers. Like most state departments, Labor saw its budget cut in fiscal 2011 — down more than 1 percent, or nearly $5 million.
Gross said one of the strengths of the Ask TED chat was the moderator’s ability to answer questions privately if discretion was needed and publicly if an answer had general interest.
“It was kind of neat,” she said, “because it was good to see what questions other people had.”