H. B. 4534

(By Delegates Jenkins, Mezzatesta, Michael, Staton, Clements,

Beach and Williams)

(Originating in the Committee on


[March 5, 1998]

A BILL to amend article one-b, chapter five of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated section nine, relating to the creation of "Operation Native Talent"; and requiring the chief technology officer to establish and maintain a database, accessible over the internet, of West Virginians seeking employment and employment opportunities in West Virginia.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article one-b, chapter five of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section nine, to read as follows:
§5-1B-9. Operation native talent; findings; creation and maintenance of database.

(a) The Legislature finds:
(1) West Virginia has been experiencing strong economic growth in recent years with many existing employers increasing employment opportunities and hiring new employees.
(2) West Virginia is also experiencing success in recruiting and attracting many large employers, necessitating the hiring of hundreds of new employees.
(3) The creation of a comprehensive, well organized list of current resources may assist in drawing employers from outside of the region who may otherwise not consider West Virginia as a possible location.
(4) The increased demand for labor has created many job opportunities for West Virginians. West Virginia must make every effort to assist in matching our native talent to these job openings.
(5) Individuals who are continuing their education have first hand knowledge of the skills required for positions available.
(6) Maintaining a database accessible over the internet will assist employers in identifying potential candidates and posting unfilled openings. It will also assist West Virginians in obtaining employment and therefore help reverse the unfortunate trend our state has experienced over the last few decades of out- migration by our residents seeking suitable employment.
(7) Although assistance in job placement is currently provided by college and university placement offices and other job placement programs, both public and private, there is no centralized database of West Virginians seeking employment.
(8) A centralized database would enable any employer to use various search criteria in seeking qualified applicants.
(b) The chief technology officer is responsible for implementing "Operation Native Talent." Operation native talent consists of the establishment and maintenance of a database, or databases, of West Virginians seeking employment and available employment opportunities in West Virginia that may be accessed through the internet.
(c) The chief technology officer:
(1) In developing the database, shall solicit advice and suggestions from the various state college and university placement offices, persons involved in economic development activities, the bureau of employment programs and other public and private firms concerning the type, format, structure and content of the database, in order to make it useful to employers seeking new employees and individuals seeking employment;
(2) Shall widely publicize the creation of the database and its purpose;
(3) May contract with another governmental agency or nongovernmental nonprofit organization to perform all or part of the responsibilities required in this section; and
(4) Shall submit by the first day of January of each year, a report to the governor, the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Delegates detailing the status of the program.
(d) The database shall be designed so that:
(1) Any West Virginian seeking employment may be listed in the database, along with contact information for those individuals, and a running total of contact requests;
(2) Once an individual seeking employment is listed nothing further is required of the individual; and
(3) It supplements, not replaces, other state or locally based employment placement operations.