ARL Workforce Recruitment and Retention Team

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Team ID: 
College / Administrative Unit: 
Date Started: 
August 2003
Objective: Issue
Among University Units, The Applied Research Laboratory may be unique in its personnel requirements. ARL has an ever increasing need for experienced electrical, mechanical and aeronautical engineers who specialize in such disciplines as hydrodynamics, hydroacoustics, thermal energy systems, propulsion, fluid mechanics, guidance and control, electro-optics, navigation and GPS, materials and manufacturing, and more. It is indeed a challenge to locate many of the specialists needed.

At the same time, ARL endeavors to build a more diverse work force, where finding qualified people with the experience that we need is even more of a challenge. To address all of our recruiting needs we exhaust the usual methods of career fairs, advertisements, Penn State’s Electronic Job Management System (EJMS), personal contacts, referrals, and the like but with less success than we need. So our goal is to improve our recruiting methods for greater hiring success.

The basis for one of our initiatives to improve recruitment is technical. To our web site we’ve added a skills collection center where prospective employees and students can tell us about their skills and experience levels. This is not radically different from other resume collection sites except that it allows us to qualify or control what type of data is supplied. This control is exercised by requesting only information that is closely linked to our specific needs, or special student programs, usually engineering based.

There is a second part to this strategy and it lies on our intranet site. The collected data is moved to a skills data base where it is then made available to managers or project leaders. It is presented in a manner that enables a manager to quickly find skills needed for a current or upcoming project, or to execute special student programs such as internships, co-ops, assistantships, and the like. The availability of this information is therefore key for proposal and project planning, as well as for helping to locate professional and student talent.

For the short term we can probably measure success by the additional interest that is generated for working at ARL as indicated by the number of skills entries and student resumes received. Ultimately though, the only real measure of success will be determined by the number of new employees whose recruitment can be traced to the skills database.

Results Achieved To Date
To date we have collected over 300 skills surveys and student resumes. Student resumes have already been used to help fill the different categories of student employment. As of early 2005, the skills data base for professionals is just starting to be mined. We are excited by the prospects.

Contact Person: 
Alan Payne
  • Edward Liszka, Sponsor
  • Alan Payne, Leader
  • Ryan Ohlson, Member
  • Randy Riesterer, Member