A LinkedIn-style job network for the blue-collar crowd

Workers complete the final phases of a new roof on a townhouse under construction. A new site aims to be for blue-collar workers what LinkedIn is for the white-collar crowd.

For Randall Wickus, electrician, welder, appliance installer, and all-around handy dude, advertising his services can be a tricky task. 

"I don't advertise in the newspaper, because that's a dying form right now," Wickus said, adding that Craigslist and LinkedIn haven't been much help either. 

"If you're a white-collar guy, and do IT work or whatever, there's plenty of places for you to look for a job, lots of different headhunters," said Wickus. "But not, that I've noticed, for the blue collar industry."

James Dunbar and Patrick Cushing, who work in tech in Silicon Valley, noticed the same thing. Both men are from blue-collar familes, and when they perused job networking sites, they realized something was missing. 

"There's a lot of great tools and apps that have come out recently," Dunbar said. "But nothing for people like our brothers who work with their hands for a living.

So Dunbar and Cushing created WorkHands, a job network for skilled tradespeople -- carpenters, machinists, painters, and all-rounders like Randall Wickus. Unlike traditional job sites, where you upload your resume, on WorkHands, professionals can upload pictures of projects they've worked on. And that's crucial to people who work with their hands. 

"You can upload images of projects that you've worked on in the past," said Dunbar. "You can upload licenses and certificates that you've earned and list the tools that you know how to use."

Randall Wickus has been a member of WorkHands for a few weeks, and hasn't landed any work just yet, but he says he has referred a lot of his blue-collar buddies to the site. 

About the author

Noel King is a reporter for Marketplace's Wealth and Poverty desk.

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