Want to work from home? The state can help

Colorado launches database for location-neutral jobs, just in time for quarantine

In fortunate timing, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment kicked off an improvement to the Connecting Colorado jobs platform that turns out to be a hidden gem during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In December, the department added a long-awaited search filter on the state-run labor exchange database for “location-neutral” jobs — in other words, jobs that can be done from anywhere. Opportunities range from “virtual construction supervisor” to “remote mortgage processor” to sign language interpreter who logs in virtually. At the end of May, Connecting Colorado listed 7,476 remote jobs out of 38,249 total listings, says Mark Duey, manager of systems, data and reporting at the labor department.

“I’m excited about the possibilities of this new feature,” says Clarke Becker, who oversees 29 state workforce centers as the director of the Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium. “It has great potential for us in the near future for people who want to live and work in rural Colorado.”

The platform is free for employers to list and jobseekers to search. The system is curated by state employees who use qualifiers to eliminate fraudulent job offers. Everyone who files for unemployment in Colorado must register at ConnectingColorado.com as part of the application process. Thus, traffic on the platform increased 240% from Feb. 25 to April 30, Duey says.

“The virus has brought to the forefront issues and opportunities in Colorado that we’ve been talking about and trying to work on (for years),” Becker says, adding that working from home still has challenges. Pockets of rural Colorado still have problems with sufficient broadband internet service, he says, and new location-neutral employees may need some specialized training to learn how to be efficient and effective.

Duey says the types of location-neutral jobs continue to grow as technology improves. Remote jobs in software development, customer service, sales, and computer programming and user support lead the pack, but remote jobs in Colorado are growing in such categories as administrative and support services, as well as professional, scientific and technical services.

Colorado had a head start on remote working skills; the U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey shows the state had the highest share in the U.S., or 8.6%, of workers reporting doing some work from home.

Categories: Economy/Politics, Industry Trends