I am going to run a comparison of the two labor departments I am familiar with. Why California? You will understand shortly. Let me start off with California and what they do for the unemployed person, and then I will compare that with New York.
California offices are neat and clean. Everything has a purpose and a place in their offices. You walk in and the first things you notice are all the possible jobs available on the walls, and all are in specific categories (i.e. Manual Labor, Customer Service, Sales, Marketing, etc). These are jobs that have been added within the last week or two. Newer jobs available you can get off their computer system. Now, you browse current content and make a list of jobs that interest you. You go to the window, and they give you some paperwork to fill out and a number for either the next window, or an agent to talk to. So, they call your number to talk to an agent. You give the agent the paperwork and discuss the jobs you checked out. The agent then enters these jobs into their computer, and then goes over the options of each with you. You choose up to five jobs from that list, and get a yellow ‘introduction’ card for each. Now, you only get one card to start with, with four on file. You go to the job listed on the card, which has the name of the company, the supervisor or foreman, the address, and title of said job. When you get there, you give the card to the supervisor or foreman as your “introduction” from the labor department. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? If you agree with the introduction and the role you play, they notify the labor department that the position is filled. If you do not agree with it, they send you back to the labor department with a pink card, and the reason why you declined the job. The labor department then uses the pink card to hone down your skills for the next four yellow cards, and the process is repeated. Imagine that happening in New York.
New York offices are clean and barren. There is a job-posting turnstile usually in the middle of the room. The job descriptions are just hanging there, jumbled together with no rhyme or reason or category. So you have to wade through hundreds of pages to find what you are looking for. If you cannot find anything, you are directed to use the computer. If you find something, you then have to ask whom to talk too. You are then directed to fill out some paperwork and wait until your name is called to talk to an agent. The agent will go over the job description, again, with you and maybe give you the address and name of a person to talk to when you get there. That is it. The rest is up to you. If you don’t like the job or options, you have to return and tell the agent why and he/she is not going to be happy you declined that job for any reason.
California labor department offers free parking, and there is a bus stop right next to the building. New York labor department is paid parking (usually a block or more away) and the bus stop is up the street. Either way with New York you are walking a bit. If all labor departments worked as well as California, job seekers would have an easier road of finding their next job or career. I know it is a hard job working for the labor department, but a smile goes a long way in helping someone.