The Newsis wrapping up another year of its “Work Seekers” program, where we publish ads from people seeking work in the hvacr trade and award the ad writers with a free one-year subscription toThe News. I think it is now time to take another look at this program and see how — or perhapsif— it can work in today’s business climate.

I’d be less than honest if I said that Work Seekers has been a success. I have asked all the people whose ads have appeared in The News to stay in touch and let me know if their ad produced any solid leads, interviews, or job offers.

The few people that keep in touch have given me a range of responses. Some say they have received a couple of job offers or at least received some inquiries. Others have not received a single response, but say they enjoy the free subscription.

I wish I could say that I am encouraged by the feedback, but I’m not. Although the tech shortage in our trade has always been the number-one problem for contractors, there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between this problem and a recommended solution (Work Seekers).

That’s why I am revisiting the program.

Journalists are often painted as skeptics and pessimists, but I am one who is an optimist. For one thing, I believe that optimism is better for one’s overall health. And for another, I’d rather see optimism rub off on others than see pessimism drag people into the emotional dumps.

Need Your Feedback

So, looking at Work Seekers optimistically, what do we need to do to make it work? Or, do we need to scrap it and try something else? Maybe the current economic climate will take that decision right away from us.

If contractors are looking to trim overhead during possible business slowdowns, will they stop looking for new, qualified techs? (I say “possible” business slowdowns because not all contractors are feeling the effects of a slowing economy.) I have heard that some contractors may be laying off workers or cutting their hours. In this scenario, Work Seekers might not be a useful tool — at least not now.

On the other hand, some contractors have forged ahead, aggressively taking steps to counteract any slowdowns in new equipment installations or add-on sales. In these cases, I can only assume that they are still looking for good, qualified techs. And if the service business picks up the slack in equipment sales, where will the techs come from? Work Seekers can provide many solid leads for these business owners.

So, should we change the format? Offer a bigger “carrot?” (Don’t hold your breath on that one.) Or do we just close the books on Work Seekers and focus on another topic? Your feedback is very important to The News and could determine the fate of Work Seekers.

I’ll be looking for your response. And in the meantime, if you are looking for work, visit our website at and send us your ad. The program is still up and running!

Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 734-542-6214; 734-542-6215 (fax); (e-mail).

Publication date: 10/01/2001