- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

DENVER (AP) - LinkedIn is among several companies working to build a digital platform to be launched in Colorado that aims to connect employers, educators, and job-seekers with the goal of making sure workers have the right skills for employment opportunities.

LinkedIn co-founded Allen Blue said at an announcement Tuesday in downtown Denver that the product is still in development, so a full picture of what it will look like is unavailable. But he urged companies and educators to join in the effort called Rework America Connected.

The idea is to have an online platform where companies can look for workers with specific skill sets, for colleges and trade schools to train students for them, and then connect job-seekers to those jobs.

The initiative is part of a $50 million, three-year project from the New York-based Markle Foundation. The plan is for the platform to launch by the end of the year.

“If you are a business owner, and I’m sure many of the people in this room are, or you’re an educator and you’re interested in driving results for your students, we really urge you to participate in this effort,” Blue said.

The project is geared toward middle-skill workers to help them get the training and certifications they need.

“There’s been months when our capacity was restricted not by sales but because we didn’t have enough skilled workers in our technical trades,” said Noel Ginsburg, the chairman and CEO of Intertech Plastics, Inc., a manufacturer of custom injection molding.

Colorado is the first state where Rework America Connected is launching and Phoenix is the first city, according to organizers.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, who attended Tuesday’s event, praised the idea, saying it will “allow employers, and job seekers, and educational institutions to connect around shared needs.”

The idea is similar to a project Colorado started working on this year.

In January, Hickenlooper’s administration announced a website called “Hire for Colorado” that would connect employers to workers who have been unemployed for six months or more. Educational institutions are also participating to train such workers.

So far, about 200 employers have joined and about 60 job seekers have participated, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The department said it is using $100,000 for employer outreach through the fall and that it hopes to have several hundred more job-seekers participating in the program.

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