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Jobs on state website include 'private party dancing,' 'car dates'

| Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, 2:16 p.m.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett (left) and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf shake hands following their debate at 'Breakfast with the Candidates' event at KYW-TV and KYW-AM on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, in Philadelphia. Campaign for a Fresh Start, an adjunct to Wolf's campaign, provided some unusual ads to reporters shortly after Corbett touted a state employment site during the debate.

HARRISBURG — A state jobs portal displayed job openings for exotic dancers at a bachelor party, “car dates” and “casting couch openings.”

A casting couch ad in Pittsburgh sought “hot mom and daughter combos” and “young busty females between 18-45,” according to the state's Job Gateway site. A car date job offer, posted Wednesday, sought “a sexy woman” older than 18.

Campaign for a Fresh Start, an adjunct to the gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Tom Wolf, provided the ads to reporters shortly after Republican Gov. Tom Corbett touted the job site in a debate with Wolf in Philadelphia.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Labor & Industry, which controls the site, said the ads were being removed.

“That is certainly not what we want to have out there,” spokeswoman Sara Goulet said. The state pays a company to monitor the site for inappropriate content, she said, but “occasionally, something goes through that shouldn't.”

The ads appeared to originate from Craigslist, a website that allows users to post job ads and other content for free. The ads on the state site were posted anonymously.

A Corbett campaign spokesman said “inappropriate” postings represent just .002 percent of the 250,000 jobs listed on the site. Of 5,000 entertainment postings, for example, only four are deemed inappropriate, campaign manager Mike Barley said.

The site also offers tools for job-training, resume-building, virtual job-shadowing videos, and other elements that are valuable resources for job-seekers, he said.

David Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, who testified about manufacturing jobs before a state House committee this week, said “there's no system created by man that people can't misuse.” Overall, Taylor said, the job portal performs a service “helping people find where opportunities are.”

Corbett said during the debate that his administration “created a Job Gateway site so people in Pennsylvania can go and look to see where there are jobs. And today that site, on average, shows about 200,000 open jobs.”

Visitors to the site can red-flag offers. The site gets listings from about 1,000 sources, Goulet said. She said most listings from Craigslist are legitimate.

The state employs Deloitte, a consulting firm, to oversee the “job feed.” Goulet could not say how much the state pays The Conference Board Inc. to monitor the site.

Fresh Start spokesman Mike Mikus said Corbett “has repeatedly insulted Pennsylvanians who are searching for jobs in his failed economy, even saying it is because they are doing drugs. He's sunk Pennsylvania from 9th to 47th in job growth, and now it is clear that even his much-touted website simply does not work as intended.”

Chris Pack, communications director for the Corbett campaign, dismissed the criticism.

“Tom Wolf is clearly desperate to change the narrative on his tax-and-spend policies,” Pack said. “It is unfortunate that, rather than talk about hundreds of thousands of good, family-sustaining jobs, Tom Wolf is focusing on a handful of glitches in an algorithm that aggregates hundreds of thousands of jobs from many national employment websites, including Monster and Craigslist.”

Pack said the site provides “a clear jump page warning that the user is leaving Job Gateway and is being transferred to a third-party website.”

The ads included “private party dancing” for “one or two” dancers at a bachelor party.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. He can be reached at 717-787-1405.

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