With tough economic times still gripping the nation, millions of Americans remain jobless and worry about how to pay their grocery bills and mortgages. Where, they might ask, are the jobs? At the Recovery Board, we have heard those pleas for help and are taking steps to provide Americans with detailed information on Recovery job opportunities across the nation. Beginning January 30, along with other improvements to Recovery.gov, we will introduce a job search function that will provide job leads, employment tips, and access to thousands of websites managed by recipients of Recovery funds.
This new search feature will help Americans narrow their job hunt. Blue collar and white collar workers will benefit. Jobs are available in both the private and public sectors, including contractors, vendors, and state and local government agencies. A search for a backhoe operator or a systems programmer in a given state, for instance, will direct the user to recipient websites with job openings in those fields, along with other employment information helpful to job seekers. Some recipient websites also post non-Recovery job opportunities.
Throughout the 11-month history of the Recovery program, the Board and its staff have been dedicated to improving our website. In my travels around the country and in my discussions with citizens, I have repeatedly noted that Recovery.gov is a work in progress. To that end, I want to tell you about some other improvements we are making for the presentation and accessibility of information—all designed to provide increased accountability and transparency as we post data from the second round of recipient reporting. Here are some of the improvements:
· Advanced Search Capability. This feature will permit refined searches of recipient awards for the sophisticated user. In essence, the search function will allow users to hone in on data they really want. For instance, users will be able to find contracts and grants for a certain time frame, and search for awards by simply entering the award identification number or a business identifier number issued by Dun & Bradstreet and known by the acronym, DUNS.
· Home Page Simplification. We have consistently listened to our users. In September, to much fanfare, we unveiled our new 2.0 version of Recovery.gov. We thought we had hit a home run. And while in many ways we did, we also heard from average Americans that the page was just too busy. Simply put, they wanted the information but not so much of it on the Home Page. So, we went to work to simplify the page. We did not remove any information from our site. As examples of what we did, information on the largest recipient awards and the top states with Recovery jobs were moved to inside pages. We believe the new Home Page has a cleaner look, and that you will find it easier to navigate our website.
· Map Central. Our design team has created a landing page allowing users to select data on funding, unemployment and diversity in states and territories. The Diversity Map is new and will pinpoint how much Recovery money is going into those communities.
There are a lot more enhancements that I haven’t mentioned. Take a look on January 30 and let us know what you think. In its short existence, Recovery.gov has become one of the federal government’s most popular websites. We want to keep it that way.