Power of a job: Cross-county collaboration helps a veteran relocate and land a job

Happy Workforce Wednesday!

As partners in Washington state’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network, the Employment Security Department helps people – unemployed or not – find new jobs and learn new skills. We help them experience the life-changing Power of a Job.

Every week, we spotlight a different Power of a Job success story. This week, we bring you Luis Torres and Clint Hede, who both help connect veterans to jobs, training and other services. Luis is a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program case manager for WorkSource Central Basin, which covers Grant and Adams counties. Clint is a Local Veterans Employment Representative for WorkSource offices in Yakima, Klickitat, Kittitas and Skamania counties.

Here’s a story about how they collaborated across counties to help a veteran find a job and relocate so that she could accept the job.

Luis: So, today we’re here to talk about Bobbi. She’s an Army veteran who was referred to me through the vocational rehabilitation and employment program that’s run through the Veterans Administration. Bobbi was getting ready to finish up an internship in information technology (IT) and needed help finding stable employment after her internship ended.

We helped revise her resume and started providing referrals to jobs and service agencies for veterans. We also helped enroll her in the Hilton Honors Program, which gives 100,000 hotel points to veterans to use for anything job related. So, when they need to travel for job interviews and things like that, they can use the points instead of their own income.

We were having a tough time finding her a job when I saw an email from Clint, saying that he had a good job for anybody interested in IT work.

Clint: I had heard about an opening for an IT professional at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I sent out the notice to WorkSource offices regionally because I didn’t have anyone for the position locally. Luis responded rapidly with Bobbi’s resume, which I sent to the hiring authority, and they were very interested. They interviewed Bobbi, liked her and hired her.

Luis: After Bobbi was offered the job, we had a problem: She lived in Soap Lake and the job was located in Prosser — definitely not a commutable distance. She already had finished her internship; she had no income and was living in a travel trailer. She also had therapy horses that we had to consider when helping her relocate.

We reached out to the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs about a program called the Veterans Innovation Program, or VIP. Bobbi was awarded $2,000 to help her relocate. We helped her find a rental where she could have her horses. She moved to the Yakima area, started work and has been very happy in her new federal job.

In closing, WorkSource has a huge network of veterans employment representatives throughout the state, and we use each other. We’re able to connect veterans to different opportunities that they might not normally know about.

Clint: And if you’re an employer looking to hire a veteran, we highly encourage you to participate in Washington state’s YesVets program. Go to YesVets.org.

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#Powerofajob: Down to his few last dollars, hope is found through WorkSource

Happy Workforce Wednesday!

As partners in Washington state’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network, the Employment Security Department helps people – unemployed or not – find new jobs and learn new skills. We help them experience the life-changing Power of a Job.

Every week, we spotlight a different Power of a Job success story. This week, we bring you William Smith, who was down to his last couple of dollars when he used the power of WorkSource to land a great job at a Hospitality-industry hiring event.

Here is William’s story:

I came to Tacoma from Las Vegas five or six weeks ago for a work assignment, collecting data for a subcontractor at the nearby military base. It was six-month job, but I found out there were only five weeks left – and it would be September before they would need me again. With only three dollars and fifty cents left to my name, I woke up this morning thinking, “I really need to find a job.”

A friend said WorkSource was a good place to find a job, so I used two dollars and took the bus planning to visit WorkSource Pierce. I asked a person on the bus if he was familiar with downtown and if he knew where to find a job. He said “Try WorkSource,” which was the second time I had heard it that day. After that, he told me which stop to take and gave me directions to the center.

After walking halfway up the hill to the center, I encountered two women. I asked if they knew how to get to WorkSource or if anyone was hiring. They did not know of any jobs, but handed me a flyer from WorkSource they had just received about the job fair at a hotel nearby.

I tried to decide if I should go. I knew I was not dressed for a job fair, but figured I would either get a job or be in the same position as now. The least I could do is try.

At the job fair, I spent five minutes filling out an application and then a staff member walked me across the hall where interviews were taking place. As she took me to a table, she asked me what type of work I am looking for. I told her I am good with my hands and she found a company to interview with right away.

Today, that company hired me to service linen for them. It is a union job, forty plus hours per week and a good starting pay. I start on Monday and I get to work with my hands.

None of this could have been possible without WorkSource. I tell you the honest to God truth. The work they do at WorkSource is a true blessing, because I feel they were really looking over me today. I really do.

#Powerofajob: Truck driver finds road to a great new career

Happy Workforce Wednesday!

As partners in Washington’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network, the Employment Security Department helps people – unemployed or not – find new jobs and learn new skills. We help them experience the life-changing Power of a Job.

Every week, we spotlight a different Power of a Job success story. This week, we bring you Shelby Meyenburg, an AmeriCorps technology and resource navigator at WorkSource Thurston. Here Shelby shares how he and the WorkSource team helped an unemployed truck driver on the road to a great new job!

My client is a skilled truck driver in search of a new job. While he had all the skills and abilities to be a truck driver, he told me he really wanted a job where he could spend more time with his wife and grandchild.

So we took a look at other job types, and he saw a position at the mattress company where his daughter works. He expressed interest in a sales representative position there. As he talked about it more, he got kind of a twinkle in his eye, so I persuaded him to apply and see where it would take him.

The WorkSource team worked to get his resume ready, practiced with mock-interviews and prepped him until he was ready to go.

We didn’t hear from him for a couple of weeks. Then one day, I came back from lunch and saw him in the main lobby of WorkSource. I asked how he was doing and if he worked for the mattress company.

Come to find out, he’s more than working; he’s successful! The mattress company had recently had a big sale, and he was the number-one salesperson! I’m impressed, but more importantly, his employer is really impressed. Everything looks really good for him.

I love my role as a technology navigator with AmeriCorps! I answer all kinds of questions from how to attach resumes to emails to how to use the computer to land a dream job. This is just a small example of what WorkSource offers to anyone who comes in the door—whether you’re unemployed or looking to start a new career.

#Powerofajob: Award winning culinary teacher’s career path helps “keep it real”

Happy Workforce Wednesday and Happy Hospitality Month!

As partners in Washington state’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network, the Employment Security Department helps people – unemployed or not – find new jobs and learn new skills. We help them experience the life-changing Power of a Job.

This week’s Power of a Job story features Kahale Ahina — the lead culinary arts instructor at Bonney Lake High School in Bonney Lake, Wash., and Washington’s 2018 ProStart Educator of Year. His passion is giving his students a robust introduction to the hospitality and food services industries.

Here’s his story:

My hospitality career started when I was a junior in high school and I landed a job delivering pizza. It wasn’t easy back then; we actually had to use maps in a book! After high school, I was introduced to event catering, and that was absolutely fun. I really enjoyed this job and did it off and on throughout college and during holidays.

After finishing school, I was one of the first staff hired at a fast/casual restaurant. Here, I worked in the front of the house (not in the kitchen) and stayed there for a year and a half. Next, I returned full time to the catering company, but this time worked in the back of the house (in the kitchen).

I didn’t really know how to cook on a large scale, but the chefs I worked with were great. They took time to teach me. I enjoyed learning from these people. It was a great experience; they turned on the light bulb for me.

That’s when I decided to become a high school instructor. It offered me the flexibility I needed for my family and fit my schedule well.

Now I teach a ProStart curriculum at Bonney Lake High School. It’s a series of three classes that builds on what we learn in each class. We do a lot of catering and we work in kitchens at local restaurants, where my students get authentic industry experiences. We also try to participate in as many competitions as we can find. I try to keep it exciting for the students and keep the learning real.

Did you know May is Hospitality Month? I encourage you to check out www.WAHospitalityCareers.com to learn more about the industry. My students investigate careers there, and I refer them to the site often.

#PoweredByJobs: Generation after generation, the hospitality industry promotes the American dream

Happy Workforce Wednesday and Happy Hospitality Month!

As partners in Washington state’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network, the Employment Security Department helps people – unemployed or not – find new jobs and learn new skills. We help them experience the life-changing Power of a Job.

We also work with businesses to help them find employees because we know they’re Powered by Jobs. This week we’re sharing a Powered by Jobs story featuring Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. The Hospitality Association and WorkSource are partnering to connect workers with jobs in the industry.

If you’re thinking about starting a career in the hospitality field, take a minute to hear how Anthony and his family used the hospitality industry to achieve their American dream!

Welcome to Hospitality Month. I so love my job as CEO of the Hospitality Association because it’s rooted in who I am.

My grandfathers both came from Greece to this country on boats and with next to nothing. One got his very first job in a hotel, working as a dishwasher. The other worked railroads until he ended up at the end of the line in Orting, Wash. and he opened up a little café.

Those two things let them launch careers, raise my parents. They lived the American dream through hospitality. While that’s my grandfather’s story, the cool thing about hospitality is it still does it today.

I’m constantly talking to people like the owner of a Vietnamese restaurant chain in the Seattle area. Her mother’s story when she came to this country is almost the exact same story as my grandfather’s. Opposite parts of the world, same dream, same opportunity, same success. I hear it all the time, whether I’m talking to the Korean American Hotel Owners Association or somebody trying a new Syrian restaurant concept, coming to this country with a passion for Mediterranean food. These opportunities just keep on coming.

So many times I’ve heard people in the industry — general managers or owners — who got their start in hospitality, and now have their dream job and give back to their community.

One of the wonderful things about our industry is we have a tree, where people start from dishwasher and move to line cook and then to sous-chef, and maybe they work for three or four different places. Or they start at the front desk and move to assistant manager from one hotel to another. This tree just keeps growing and growing and growing, and the next thing you know, they’re an assistant manager. Then they move all the way up to general manager and earn more than $100,000 a year!

So many people move from the starting line to $50,000 and beyond, and really start establishing their families and their dreams in hospitality.

If you’d like to learn more about these opportunities, please go to WAHospitalityCareers.com and look us up. Check out our stuff this month as we celebrate Washington Hospitality Month. Thank you!