Former UC QB connects skilled workers with jobs

Posted at 6:00 AM, Nov 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-17 06:00:09-05

When it comes to employing people in trades, one company is taking a more hands-on approach to pairing job seekers with open positions.

CraftForce, a job search website for workers and companies in trades, began in 2013. Former University of Cincinnati quarterback Dustin Grutza was working for his family’s construction business, Ranger Industrial Services. Noticing a void of a staffing service that matched companies with skilled workers, Dustin put up $30,000 and started CraftForce. That initial investment has now grown to $6.2 million in revenue for the company in 2½ short years.

Grutza’s website allows companies looking for skilled workers to post job openings while trade workers can post their resume, answer a few questions such as salary preference and job locations, and search open positions. While that might sound like a typical job search engine, it’s restricted to non-union trade positions, such as welders, plumbers, electricians and others. Also, CraftForce plays a more active middle-man part.

Industrial painter Jeremy Roberson was looking for work when his company laid him off during a slow point. Drawing on his experience in construction and similar trades, he answered questions on CraftForce and uploaded his resume. He didn’t see an open position, but went through the company’s interview process. After a few months, he was offered a job in his same field.

Roberson didn’t take the position – he was called back to work at his painting company, and took that instead. Although he didn’t successfully find and accept a job through CraftForce, he felt the process helped him to find work when he needed it and treated him well along the way.

“They were quick and treated me with the utmost respect, and worked with my situation,” he said. “(CraftForce) seems to find you if someone is looking for someone like you.”

Grutza said that instead of posting a resume, answering the questions and checking the openings page constantly, workers can receive notifications of matching positions through a mobile application and apply quickly – putting their resume in front of an employer instantly.

“We think this is a high-need area,” he said of the demand for companies to find and employ skilled workers who also meet numerous state and federal regulations. “As qualifications get stricter, there’s more difficulty in vetting out people, and companies don’t want to spend the time doing that when they’re focusing on getting projects done.”

While CraftForce has been in action since April 2013, it has flown mostly under the radar until recently, when it was discovered at a conference in Chicago by scouts for a show on Discovery Networks called “Innovations with Ed Begley Jr.” The show was interested in how the company was using the website to pair applicants and employers.

The show airs Nov. 17 at 7:30 a.m. (both Pacific and Eastern time), discussing how the company matches skilled workers with the companies seeking them. CraftForce is taking the opportunity to celebrate the free publicity, right at a time when it is launching its marketing campaign and national expansion. It’s throwing a party the night of the show, beginning at 6 p.m. with drinks, food and networking, and ending at 8 p.m. after outlining CraftForce’s model and a demonstration of the website.

“We’re getting the message out there that there’s a new type of platform for companies to find candidates,” Grutza said.

If you go:

What: CraftForce’s launch party
Where: Cintrifuse's Union Hall, 1311 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 17
How to register: