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Area man opens Web site for W.Va. employers, job seekers

by Franny White

STAFF WRITER

For West Virginia employers and job seekers looking for a modern way to connect, Brian Griffith of Bridgeport has a possible solution.

It's www.WVJobNet.com -- a Web site aimed at attracting and retaining talented workers and promising businesses in West Virginia. WVJobNet has been up and running for two weeks, but officially opened its electronic doors to the world on Aug. 1. Without any advertising, the site has already attracted 3,200 hits, or visitors, a week.

As the president of Bridgeport-based Next Professional Staffing Associates, which seeks highly specialized potential employees for technology businesses, Griffith saw a need for such a site.

"I began to receive a number of calls from individuals who had moved away from the state and said, 'I'd like to find a job in West Virginia,'" Griffith said.

And these "West Virginia runaways," sometimes coming back to the state they swore they'd never return to, weren't far from Griffith's own experiences. He, too, left the state in 1985 for the big city lights of Cincinnati. But after he became a husband and father, Griffith said he began to see the value of the Mountain State.

So he moved his professional service business and family to Bridgeport, starting anew. After receiving phone requests from fellow "runaways," he looked into national job sites like www.monster.com and www.headhunter.com and decided the same could be done for West Virginia.

With WVJobNet, applying for a job can be as easy as "point and click," Griffith said.

The Web site features job postings from state businesses and allows job seekers to post their own resume for those businesses to peruse.

Job seekers can automatically e-mail employers to apply for jobs, and businesses can also e-mail application requests to those who post resumes that interest them. Other features, such a virtual career agent, are also available.

David Lieving, workforce development manager for the state Development Office, agrees a state-specific job site is needed.

"We have talent(ed people) who leave and who may not realize what's here in their own backyard," Lieving said. "(Griffith) may have a way to bring people back to our state."

WVJobNet is free of charge to job seekers and until October, it's also free for businesses. From Oct. 1, 2000 to Dec. 31, 2000, job postings will be at a 20 percent reduced rate.

After that, rates will start at $85 per job posting, Griffith said.

Griffith also is challenging businesses and employees to ride the state's new electronic job wave.

"Let's see if we can get 2001 jobs on the site by the beginning of 2001," Griffith said.

With the state's low unemployment rate and businesses scrambling to find qualified employees, Griffith thinks the site may just meet that challenge.

"Imagine what kind of statement that would say to West Virginia runaways like me," Griffith said.

Staff writer Franny White can be reached at 626-1443.

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