Dow Chemical launches social networking project

The Dow Chemical Co. Wednesday is set to announce plans to launch a social networking project in December that will provide a new way for former employees, retirees and current employees to communicate about full-time and contract job openings at the firm.

The social network, to be called Dow Connect, will be built and hosted by New York City-based SelectMinds Inc., which also has built corporate social networks for JP Morgan Chase, Ernst & Young, Lockheed Martin, BearingPoint, Schlumberger and other top companies.

"This is an acknowledgement that the labor market is tightening," said Kevin Small, leader of Dow's Global Resource Management Center. "We really need to come up with ways of addressing different generations in the work force. The intent is to increase engagement with the overall Dow family - current and former employees - and allow them to stay connected [and] stay current on what Dow is doing in case they choose to return."

The Dow Connect social networks will be tailored for different groups of people, including former employees who may be interested in returning to Dow full-time, women who may have special interest in balancing work and family issues and retired employees who may be looking to return for short term projects.

"We are particularly interested in females who leave the work force to raise a family or move with a spouse," Small said. "We have a very strong desire to stay in contact with those folks and try to draw them back to Dow. This is a place where women who go out on maternity leave would have a less formal area to stay in contact with a mentor, with other peers to get articles and content related to reentering the work force or how to balance child rearing and work life."

In addition, Dow will be creating "one-stop shopping" for all its available jobs on the site, so a former employee, for example, could network to find out which former colleagues are still at the company or other pieces of information that would be difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain from a online jobs board, Small added.

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