Popular Yukon job site set to close

The Yukon Department of Education is facing criticism for cutting the funding to the YuWin job board. For the past four years, the department's advanced education branch has been funding the website.

The Yukon Department of Education is facing criticism for cutting the funding to the YuWin job board.

For the past four years, the department’s advanced education branch has been funding the website. Last year, it received $125,000 from the territorial government.

But that funding agreement ends on March 31.

Rick Karp, vice-chair of YuWin’s board of directors, said the website is “absolutely critical” to the Yukon’s business community. “We have small businesses here and in fact, 83 per cent of them have eight or less employees,” he said.

“For a lot of these businesses it’s tough to post on a national job bank. They need something that gets posted locally, is user-friendly and quick.

“YuWin is where people have traditionally gone to for the past 15 years, they’ve relied on it.”

Karp, who runs a small business, said he’s found it difficult to navigate the national job bank’s website.

He said YuWin gets between 50,000 and 60,000 searches per month, and had 3.3 million hits in 2015.

According to him, it only costs between $18,000 and $20,000 per year to run YuWin’s website. The rest goes towards a salary for an executive director, funding job fairs and partnerships, and advertising.

Yukon NDP MLA Kate White is calling for a review of the website’s funding.

“The Yukon Party government should not be cutting funding to the most popular job board in the Yukon while our economy is so sluggish,” she said in a news release this week.

“Why is the Yukon Party making it harder to find work by defunding Yukon’s go-to online job board?”

Education Minister Doug Graham responded to the criticism by saying the comments were misguided.

He said the decision to cut YuWin’s funding was made a year ago.

“He (Karp) sat in my office on Jan. 28 at which time I told him the cut was coming,” Graham said.

“When I listen to Kate, I think ‘talk about uninformed comment.’ She never bothered to check if we did an evaluation or if we were getting better value from the job bank.”

Graham said the decision to cut YuWin’s funding was made after an evaluation of the website was completed last year.

Up until 2014, YuWin seemed like a better option for the department, employers and job seekers, he said.

But the results indicated the department should favour the federal government’s job bank.

The new job bank website has a number of features that YuWin doesn’t offer, Graham said.

It allows job seekers to create a profile while they’re looking for a job. It also does skill matching, by attempting to match employers with job seekers who have the skills they’re looking for.

Finally, it offers a wider range of data to the department’s advanced education branch.

“Those are the kinds of things YuWin simply couldn’t provide,” Graham said.

The cut doesn’t automatically mean YuWin will disappear after March 31.

The board is still in discussions with the department to find ways it can remain open and offer a service to Yukoners, Graham said.

The funding that normally would have gone to YuWin will now “go back into the pot,” he said, where it will be used towards other programs and services.

As it stands, the websites are offering a different variety of jobs.

Between Jan. 17-20, YuWin listed 29 jobs in Whitehorse while the federal job bank listed 20.

Only a few of the listings were on both websites.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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