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Mormon church opens new nondenominational job website

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched a new employment website — ldsjobs.org — not only to help its members find employment but also to offer resources to the general public for finding jobs, gaining more education or starting a small business.

The new interactive website is free and available from any computer with Internet access.

It is designed for job seekers, regardless of religious denomination, to locate employment, increase or improve skills through education and start or refine a small business.

Currently, there are approximately 250,000 job listings and 9,000 employers signed onto the site, looking for the right candidates to fill openings across the country.

Curt Stewart, spokesman for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, said the new site looks like a great idea.

"We partner with LDS employment a lot," he said. "Anything that can help people connect with an employer is good news."

"One of the first things we find with many people who come into our employment centers is that they've lost hope," Rick Ebert, director of employment resource services for the church, stated in a church press release about the new site. "They're desperate. We try to give them a sense of hope that there are possibilities for them; there are resources that can be made available to them."

Ebert said he sees the site as a significant tool to assist local church leaders in their responsibility to help members who are struggling to find employment or seeking to improve their careers.

While the site has only been launched in English, it will be available later this year in both Spanish and Portuguese, with plans to expand to other languages in the future.

When searchers log onto the site, they are invited to create a profile that includes their employment history, qualifications, education and skills. However, they can do many things — including some job searching — without entering a profile.

Site users are greeted by various heading options — searching job listings by keywords and phrases such as "Advancing in your career," "Want to be a successful employment specialist?" "Want to succeed in your new job?" "Recent graduate?" and "Is your business struggling? Rich Vunder, manager of church employment resource services in northern Utah, said the exciting thing about the site is the control prospective employees have over their information. "It is a self-directed website. The better their profile is, the better their opportunities to connect with employers," he said in the press release.

LDSjobs.org is also a great resource for employers.

Employers can post job openings, review potential candidates, make contacts and even hire new employees based on website profiles.

As an employer, Ebert explains, "I can literally go to the website, send an electronic message to the individual saying, 'I have an interest in meeting with you.' " The website is the catalyst for bringing the prospective employer and employee together.

However, it should be stressed that just because job information is posted on this new LDS Church site doesn't guarantee its accuracy or opportunity.

"LDS Employment Resource Services does not conduct background checks on any users (job seekers, potential employers or any other individual or institution posting information through the website) nor do we verify employment histories, résumés or references," the "conditions of use" portion of the new website states.

It continues: " Furthermore, we do not investigate employment eligibility under government immigration regulations, employer compliance with local labor requirements or any similar requirements.

"LDS Employment Resource Services is not involved in any actual transactions between users, including employers and job seekers."

In New York, Joe Doria, manager of church employment resource services, said he and his associates use the website in their work with many of the Fortune 1,000 companies. The site's resources help potential employers meet staffing needs at senior executive levels.

LDSjobs.org can also be a resource for students and young adults looking for summer jobs. Julie Poole, manager of church employment resource services in Dallas, Texas, said the website helps young people not only find a part-time job but plan a career. "It's an incredible resource that supports Latter-day Saints and those of other faiths."

The site also includes information about schools, financial aid and programs that are available at technical and vocational schools as well public and private schools. In addition to specific job resources, ldsjobs.org also has a database of community resources to help those with disabilities, single parents and those who have health issues.

e-mail: lynn@desnews.com