Case Study

New York City Human Resources Administration

The New York City Human Resources Administration uses text messaging to reach over 32,000 low-income residents about job opportunities and resources.

Challenge

How do you help low-income job seekers find employment?

The New York City Human Resources Administration is dedicated to connecting New Yorkers in need with job opportunities. In the past, available job opportunities were mailed to clients, a process that can take up to two weeks from the time the job is first posted. The HRA wanted to reach out to New Yorkers using a technology that was more immediate and relevant to their lives. A 2011 survey showed that 88% of low-income New Yorkers use cell phones on a daily basis, and 73% prefer to receive text or email updates on available job opportunities. The HRA used these insights from the survey to design a better system for connecting citizens with jobs.

Solution

A text message service that sends  job opportunities as soon as they are available.

The HRA launched TXT-2-Work, a program that uses text messaging to deliver job resources directly to the phones of low-income New Yorkers. People can opt-in to the program online or with a text to receive messages on job opportunities, job-seeking tips, and other alerts on a regular basis. Rather than waiting for available job listings in the mail, New Yorkers can now apply for a position or go for an interview the day after they receive a text message. The HRA is also able to track every text message and use the data to better understand the needs of job seekers and respond to their preferences.

“With TXT-2-Work HRA is leading the movement of social services nationwide using everyday technology to communicate more effectively with our audience in hopes it will increase their connections to jobs,” said Katy Gaul, HRA

Results

TXT-2-Work had over 10,000 subscribers within the first year.

TXT-2-Work has been very successful, exceeding its goal of enrolling 10,000 subscribers within the first year with both high opt-in rates and low opt-out rates. Currently, over 32,000 people are subscribed to the TXT-2-Work program. A recent survey of 3,000 subscribers asking about their job success showed that 11 percent got interviews and half of those got jobs after responding to a text from the service.

“I’m a single mother of two and I’m looking for a job. I like how this service sends information straight to my phone while I am on the go and unable to gain access to a computer. The texts have all the details you need so you don’t need to make a phone call to learn more. I’ve have a few interactions with employers thanks to this service and that type of exposure is great for me. I remain hopeful I will soon get a job offer.”
-TXT-2-Work subscriber

Employers also benefit from this service by receiving more applications and filling open positions more quickly than before. Some of the businesses posting job openings through the TXT-2-Work program include the Barclays Center, Applebee’s, the Soho Grand Hotel, and Citarella. The TXT-2-Work program recently received a Digital Government Achievement Award for its innovative use of technology to transform operations and engage with citizens. The HRA is setting an example for other government agencies by showing how the ease and ubiquity of text messaging makes it the most effective way to reach citizens and drive action.

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