State Launches Expanded Recruitment Campaign to Attract Talent to State Service

Published On: April 17, 2024

The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has unveiled an ambitious expansion of its Work for California (Work4CA) campaign, aimed at simplifying the process for Californians to find rewarding careers within state service. The initiative seeks to connect more individuals with opportunities across various sectors such as critical infrastructure, public health, education, and technology.

“We’re expanding our reach and enhancing resources to connect even more Californians with exciting opportunities in critical infrastructure, public health, education, technology, and more,”Camille Travis, CalHR’s Deputy Director of Communications, said. Travis highlighted the strategic use of digital billboards, transit ads, Pandora Radio spots, YouTube video ads, and digital news placements in English and Spanish to ensure widespread visibility of the Work for California message.

Monica Erickson: Image: LinkedIn

The campaign’s expansion comes in the wake of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order issued last year, directing CalHR to reassess the necessity of a college degree for various positions. Monica Erickson, Chief Deputy Director of CalHR, spoke about broadening access to well-paying jobs in public service. “Through the Governor’s Executive Order, CalHR expanded access to well-paying jobs in public service,” Erickson said. “This step enhances workforce accessibility and ensures that every individual has an opportunity to excel and contribute meaningfully to the State of California.”

As part of the expanded campaign, the Work4CA website serves as a central hub for job seekers and state recruiters alike. Offering resources to navigate the application process and insights into the benefits of state employment, the website aims to streamline recruitment efforts. While applications will continue to be processed through CalCareers, the Work4CA website provides valuable video resources and information about state employment benefits.

Originally piloted as a recruitment program targeting laid-off tech workers, the Work4CA campaign has evolved into a comprehensive statewide initiative. Operating collaboratively across various state departments, the campaign aims to attract top talent for the State of California. It empowers job seekers with resources on navigating CalCareers and simplifies understanding the state’s recruitment process.

California state service advertises a multitude of benefits, including advancement opportunities, excellent benefits packages, job security, and the chance to work with purpose, irrespective of an individual’s education or experience level.

One of the more alarming figures in the March 2023 case study titled the “Work for California Hiring & Recruiting Campaign” included a significant drop in state job applications—from 59 per posting in 2019 to just 22 in 2022—and a vacancy rate that surged from 13.5% to 20.9% since 2016. These trends, compounded by an aging workforce and competition from the private sector, impeded the state’s operational effectiveness.

“To transform the state’s hiring and recruiting practices, it is important to focus on creating a positive first impression and build upon that foundation,” says the report. “CalHR and department recruitment teams should continue exploring the use of an interest form or other tools provided by hiring platforms to recruit qualified candidates. “

With nearly two dozen departments and agencies participating, W4CA’s strategy was multifaceted: enhancing visibility through coordinated communication, engaging potential candidates via targeted outreach, including six “lunch and learn” sessions, 410 social media posts and 39 email blasts over a three month period.  

The increase in the number of applications received went from 164,892 in the previous year to 195,943.

Preliminary outcomes suggest progress, with notable improvements in hiring timelines and a rise in job applications. However, the campaign’s full impact, particularly on the statewide hiring landscape, remains under analysis.  

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org