The Washington Post

Joe Biden likes to jam. Data jam.

Data jam!

Yes, at first we also had no idea what it meant, except that Vice President Biden was involved.

It turns out that a data jam is a brainstorming session where technology and design experts and representatives from state and federal departments of labor and commerce try to figure out ways to use technology to connect job seekers with employment.

The goal is to try to make it easier for people who need jobs to digitally connect with ones that are open. It also wants to use technology to make workforce training more job-specific than theoretical.

Biden, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and about 75 others attended the jam which, despite its mission, was decidedly low-tech.

Attendees sat at large tables that contained a pile of Post-its, Sharpie markers and an easel holding a posterboard that read, "21st Century Jobs Jam!"

Nothing says 21st Century like posterboard!

This guy likes to data jam. (Luis Soto/AP)

Participants wrote their ideas on the sticky notes and put them on the boards; the groups then voted for the idea they liked best. How did they vote? By sticking red dot stickers on the piece of paper where that idea was written.

A piece of paper reading "Policy Parking Lot" was affixed to the wall, but nothing was written on it.

Another wall hanging likely got more attention -- a huge photo of President Obama sitting courtside at a basketball game with George Clooney.

Biden went around to each table and looked at the ideas. One included an app that let people swipe for jobs, called "Swipe for Success." Kind of like a dating app, but for jobs.

"The bad news is: If you have a really good idea, there's no way out, man," Biden joked. "We are going to try to own you."

More bad news: The event happened hours after the Bureau of Economic Analysis said the economy shrank at an annualized rate of 2.9 percent, the worst since the recession.

Despite that, Biden said there are "tens of thousands" of jobs out there, but people need help finding them.

"And the truth of the matter is people go, okay, well, you tell me there’s 100,000 jobs -- Joe, where?  Name me the place. I’ll go. Tell me what certificate I have to go to the community college to get to qualify for this job. I’ll do it," he said.

Katie Zezima is a national political correspondent covering the 2016 presidential election. She previously served as a White House correspondent for The Post.



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