One of the city's largest advertising agencies and a down-state software development firm have brokered a deal with Radio One Indianapolis to launch a Web site that matches minority job seekers with companies looking to diversify their work force.
The site, Diversity-One.com, is the product of MZD Advertising and Batesville-based Employment Partners, a firm specializing in Web-based employee and job-search software. The partners in the project wanted a local niche site to compete with national job and employee search portals such as Monster.com.
Radio One launched Divesity-One.comand still owns and controls the site's content. Employment Partners and MZD hope to use it as a prototype for similar sites in markets across the country.
Employment Partners developed the software for the site and MZD is pushing the concept out to radio groups in the region. MZD is spearheading efforts to attract minority job seekers, firms looking for minority applicants, and media partners that will provide a promotional platform.
The site also has functions for a virtual career fair and a feature that links minority-owned suppliers and service providers with potential customers and vice versa.
With about 4,000 job-search Web sites operating nationwide, the local effort will have plenty of competition. The biggest sites, such as Monster and HotJobs, also offer minority search components.
T. Julian Gipson, director of MZD's multicultural, interactive and entertainment division, thinks D ive r s i t y - O n e 's purely local focus will set it apart.
"We're bringing together companies and job seekers in a specific region," Gipson said. "We think there are some inherent efficiencies of this job search-recruitment process that people on both sides of it will find attractive."
Gipson thinks the sale of nine banner ads and revenue from employer job postings will bring in more than $100,000 annually for each site launched.
"That's a conservative estimate," Gipson said. "We think that's just the start."
Job seekers will be able to post resumes and use all other site features for free.
Gipson and Employment Partners' founder Kevin Kreckler hope their deal with Radio One Indianapolis is just the start. A rollout with Radio One in other markets is possible, Kreckler said, and he and Gipson are negotiating to launch a site in conjunction with a group of Hispanic radio stations. Later this month, they plan to launch a marketing campaign targeted at human resources professionals.
"We think this niche has tremendous growth potential because the main thrust is to promote diversity in the workplace, and create an avenue for that to happen," Kreckler said. "The minority populace feels more comfortable putting their resume on a job board that promotes diversity, so we think there's going to be a tremendous response."
Gipson and Kreckler also plan to use Diversity Roundtable of Central Indiana's 10th annual Awards Luncheon and Business Fair Oct. 23 to help roll out their initiative. The event held at the Murat will feature Tavis Smiley, a nationally known black author, journalist, political commentator and talk show host with local roots.
Radio stations that want to launch a site pay Kreckler's firm to license the software. In return, they retain much of the banner advertising and job-posting revenue. Other revenue-sharing arrangements also are possible, he said.
Karl Ahlrichs, founder of Exacthire, a local hiring process services firm, thinks the new site came along at the right time.
"We have a talent shortage right now that is only going to get worse when the baby boomers retire," Ahlrichs said. "To best fill the void, we need to have a culture of inclusion that brings people to the table from diverse backgrounds and with diverse thinking styles and ideas."
The growing desire of many firms to find qualified minority job applicants attracted Radio One, which operates radio stations with a largely urban target market, to the project, said Orville Lynch, a consultant for Radio One on the project.
"Radio One has one of the most diverse listener bases of any radio group, so it's a natural fit," Lynch said. "The partnership with Radio One gave the Web site a builtin audience."
In addition to creating a potential new revenue stream, Lynch said, Diversity-One.comis attractive because the site and radio station can cross-promote each other.
"The partnership could potentially boost the traffic of both the Web site and radio stations involved," Lynch said.
One downside to Diversity-One.comis its reliance on resumes and the Internet's tendency to attract mostly highly educated people, Ahlrichs said.
"These types of sites are terrific if you're looking for someone with a higher education," Ahlrichs said. "But excluding people without resumes or who may not use the Internet isn't very inclusive or diverse."