The U.S. Department of Labor announced in a press release yesterday the “Explore and Recommend” phase of its “Tools for America’s Job Seekers Challenge.” A first of its kind effort, the challenge brings together a plethora of online resources for job seekers. It also allows them, and workforce professionals, to vote for their favorite job search and career sites.

From Jan. 4 to15, 2010, members of the public are invited to explore the resources at the participating sites, review them and provide feedback. All job search and career sites participating in the challenge have agreed to allow job seekers free access during this phase when they enter their sites through the portal. Job seekers can then apply for jobs, learn more about careers and vote for their favorites from among nearly 500 job search and career Web sites.

“Even in these challenging times, there are jobs out there waiting to be filled,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “By leveraging the resources of hundreds of private and public sector career Web sites, we have created a major online asset for job seekers and an innovative way to gauge which tools appeal most to consumers.”

In late January, the department will share the tools receiving the most positive feedback with the public. An alphabetical list of all tools that were submitted during the contest will be posted and will serve as a lasting job search and career information resource for job seekers.

The department's national network of nearly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers will be engaged in connecting job seekers to the online tools. More than 20 million individuals seek out employment services annually through the One-Stop system.

For more information on the range of Department of Labor employment and training services, visit