Northforce: employer-employee matchmaking in the Northland

By KBJR News 1

February 10, 2014 Updated Feb 10, 2014 at 11:27 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A new web portal called NORTHFORCE.org is connecting those in need of employment with prospective employers in the Northland.

And currently with more than 5,000 open jobs in the region, the program launch comes at a crucial time.

NORTHFORCE.org launched Monday in Duluth.

The new site aims to connect a talented workforce in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin with the right jobs.

"We're going to have excited employers who are finding new employees that are new to this region because of Northforce," said Brian Hanson, CEO of APEX.

Northforce is a website portal that offers microsites that focus on job opportunities in Duluth, Superior, and on the Iron Range.

But those who launched the program say it's different from any other job search tool because there is a "push–pull" impact.

"All you do is put in all your skill sets and your resume, and there's somebody there to help match it with the job openings in the region, and so it's a different tool that way, which it actually does the matching work for you," said Tony Sertich, commissioner of the IRRRB in Eveleth.

Students from Lake Superior College in Duluth say they are already getting excited to start using this useful tool.

"It sounds like a great opportunity to connect me with a possible firefighting job once I graduate," said Nathan Van Meter, a student at Lake Superior College.

Sertich says they at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board are excited to start using the program to help people on the range.

"Two of our major important factors at the IRRRB is getting people jobs but then getting businesses to locate in our region. Northforce is a great tool to show people where jobs are available, but also to show businesses that there are people willing to live in northeastern Minnesota that have great skill sets," said Sertich.

The employer–employee matchmaking function of the web portal is what partners who helped launch the program say is so unique.

Northforce is a collaborative initiative of APEX, the Northspan Group, the IRRRB, the city of Duluth, Minnesota, and the City of Superior, Wisconsin.

Elsa Robins