Job Opportunities in Your Pocket

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 - 04:00 AM

Since the recession began, policymakers have been looking for new ways to connect the unemployed with work. The Bloomberg administration now believes it's found a powerful new tool to accomplish this goal: TXT-2-Work which sends text messages about job listings directly into the hands of unemployed New Yorkers.

One of those now receiving those text messages is Crystal Sampson.

"For the past, a little over two years, it's been kinda rough," Sampson said, explaining that she lost a job as a manager in a clothing store when the retailer downsized. "And I have 2 girls. Single parent."

On a dreary, wet morning, Sampson was waiting for her second round of interviews for a bank teller position at a branch in Tribeca. 

"I have my resume, my cover letter, even a thank you letter, just in case I get the job," she said.

Sampson learned about the opening from a short text message which read:

Business Link is recruiting bank teller must have 6 month exp cash

handling with in retail/check cashing & HS/GED to apply 2/4 @ 9:30 to

348 W 34th St.

Business Link is a city-run employment bureau.

Katy Gaul, deputy commissioner for employment at the city's Human Resources Administration, said the texts are written as a call to action "meeting the client right where they are, getting the information right in your pocket." Gaul added, it's how people talk to one another these days. "That’s the way I communicate with my friends, the way I communicate with my family."

HRA used to send announcements about recruitment events by standard mail two weeks before an event. That long time horizon, however, meant that many employers looking to hire people faster weren’t interested in working with the agency.

Some of the businesses posting jobs openings through the TXT-2-Work program include the Barclays Center, Applebee's, the Soho Grand Hotel, and Citarella.

The feedback, Gaul said, has been good.  "We did have a home healthcare agency that was really shocked and surprised we were able to send 30 people the next day when they had asked for home health aides."

TXT-2-Work was developed by Brooklyn-based Mobile Commons using a text message program that has also been used by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the 2012 Obama campaign (and WNYC). 

It's available only to public benefits recipients, including 1.8 million food stamps users and three million people on Medicaid. So far, almost four thousand recipients have signed up for program.  As the program is so new, HRA does not yet know how many people have found work.  And because many of the jobs are short-term or part-time, the jobs may only do so much to improve people’s economic well-being.

Crystal Sampson felt positive about her second interview at the bank branch. But after several weeks passed and she hadn't received an offer, she accepted another job with the New York City Department of Sanitation. She found that position without the help of TXT-2-Work; finding a job was what mattered most.

"I'm very happy,” Sampson said. "Overwhelmed, but I’m happy"



More in:

Comments [2]

William from New York City.

Media Theorist Douglas Rushkoff believes asks us to consider if "Jobs are Obsolete?"

We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.

Buckminster Fuller

(Video Tedx) Robots will Steal Your Job.

Apr. 19 2013 12:52 AM

we hung in there for the entire story... i'd say we earned the right to know how she got the job

Apr. 09 2013 06:31 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.



About Note to Self Blog

Note to Self: The podcast in which digital gets personal.


Supported by