#Powerofajob: WorkSource lifts customer out of unemployment blues

It’s Workforce Wednesday, when we spotlight Power of a Job success stories.

This week, we bring you Greg Krager, who came to WorkSource Vancouver to polish his skills after nearly two decades away from job-hunting. He gained so much more, including insight into his own strengths and abilities, when he felt down and out.

I’m Greg and I’m here at WorkSource Vancouver taking the Strategies for Success class, because after 17 years working at a law firm, I was unexpectedly laid off. I knew I needed to update my job-search skills, so I came here to take classes in resume writing and filling out job applications.

Then I figured I needed some more help, so I took the Strategies for Success class, to help me get through the mental block of being unemployed. It’s actually opened me up to going out to try new things and to be more adventurous.

This has all happened for me because of the instructor at WorkSource, Joseph. Without him, I would probably still be in a funk, with no energy to even get out of bed to do anything. I realized it’s time to be among the living and not hanging around doing nothing. I’m still eligible to work and I’m a hard worker. Joseph helped me remember that and know that I’m not alone in my journey.

As a partner 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. We also work with businesses, which are Powered by Jobs, to help them find employees.

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Strategies for Success students learn how to cope with losing a job

It’s Workforce Wednesday, when we spotlight Power of a Job success stories. Today we bring you Amy Mercy, who came to WorkSource Vancouver after she lost a job she held for 27 years. WorkSource helped her learn how to look for work again.

But the popular Strategies for Success course benefitted Amy the most, helping her regain her footing and move on with her life. This six-week course series teaches life skills and how to discover your potential.

Here is Amy’s story:

I came to WorkSource because of unemployment. I worked for a company for 27 years, so it was a severe shock, to tell you the truth, for me to become unemployed.

When I came here, I took the obligatory classes, which were great. It had been a long time since I’d written a resume. One of the classes I enjoyed the most was Strategies for Success [life skills course]. Joseph [Hennessey] was our leader. We had a wonderful group of people, so we could bounce ideas off different people. We learned a lot, like how to be interviewed.

But the best thing I found was how tied I was to my former employer. I didn’t realize how, after 27 years, I really I felt it had become my family. All of a sudden, I realized that I was basically going through the whole grieving process of losing my family, which was my job.

Then the class helped me realize that most people go through that when you lose your job. It was wonderful to be able to help everybody work through that. Following the class, we even started having monthly breakfasts to see how everybody was doing. It was a group of people coming together with a wonderful instructor and a really great course. It taught us how to see our potential again.

I wish everybody who becomes unemployed could take Strategies for Success because it gives you the confidence to go ahead. Being unemployed sort of makes you feel like a failure. Once you get a job, it makes you feel better. WorkSource explained the unemployment process and what was going on. But I think my favorite class — Strategies — really helped me prepare.

As a partner 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.  We also work with businesses, which are Powered by Jobs, to help them find employees.

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#Powerofajob: WorkSource helps a developer reboot his career

It’s Workforce Wednesday, when we spotlight Power of a Job success stories. This week, we bring you Wendell Macrae. With guidance from WorkSource staff, Wendell enrolled in several training programs that gave him the skills and confidence to pursue opportunities for new types of technology-related jobs.

My name is Wendell Macrae. In the summer of last year I got a call to come into WorkSource Vancouver. I was a little afraid at first since I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it actually went a lot better than I had thought. I had been unemployed for about six months and nothing was really happening. I wasn’t getting interviews and it was really tough to just keep at it. I was getting pretty discouraged.

Because I had worked in a technical field before, I was trying to get back into being a software developer, and I just wasn’t having much luck. The staff at WorkSource told me about the ReBoot Northwest program – that there was funding for training. That really gave my spirits a boost. Plus, I took a lot of [WorkSource] classes, which helped. I was in a rut. The classes helped get me out of that.

Strategies for Success
But then Joseph came into one of the classes and talked about Strategies for Success. I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend so much time. But what really got to me was that Joseph shared his personal story about how he’d gone through a period of unemployment, the trials and tribulations he went through and the toll it took on him. It resonated with me immediately and I thought: “I have to get in that class!” I saw Joseph as someone I could really interact and identify with.

ReBoot Northwest
That was in August. As a result, I went through ReBoot Northwest, where they told me about a new online program at Clark College called the mechatronics program. I went to some of the introductory seminars and got really excited about it, so I enrolled in the fall quarter. I made it through and now I’m enrolled in the winter quarter. I’ll get a certificate at the end, and the state is paying for it. I got a scholarship.

New perspective
I’ve really come a long way from when I first got here. And the thing about Strategies for Success – it really gave me a lot of perspective on things. It got me out of my comfort zone and made me think about things I haven’t thought about before. It gave me an enormous amount of tools, so when I complete this [mechatronics] program, I know I’ll be in a lot better shape to get a job I want.


The ReBoot Northwest program pairs motivated participants with personal career coaches who help prepare and connect them with high-wage and high-growth careers in technology and manufacturing. For more information go to rebootnw.org.

Strategies for Success is series of life and job skills classes on topics like work concepts, communications, finances and more. Sign up for these free classes at your local WorkSource office.

As a partner 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. We also work with businesses, which are Powered by Jobs, to help them find employees.

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#Powerofajob: Veteran’s new confidence equals a new job

Welcome to Workforce Wednesday, when we spotlight stories about connecting people to jobs and supporting them with unemployment benefits while they look for work.

This week, meet Richard Doyle, a job seeker who found help and inspiration at WorkSource North Seattle. He credits WorkSource with teaching him how to effectively search for jobs, write a resume and knock an interview out of the park!

Richard also speaks highly of the popular Strategies for Success life-skills class, offered at many WorkSource offices around the state.

Here is Richard’s story:

I recently got a job at Transdev, the company is called. They’re located in Kent and they’re subcontractors to King County, providing access buses. So I’ll be an access bus driver, picking up different customers. Most of the customers that we deal with are developmentally disabled, handicapped, hearing impaired or elderly. It’s like a dream job to me because I love working with the handicapped. I love working with the disadvantaged. I love working with the elderly.

I had assistance from my family and from other sources, so I was able to come to WorkSource and go to the classes that I needed to help me with my resume and interviewing skills, which helped me pursuing jobs — how to pursue jobs and how to navigate through the WorkSource website.

One of the classes I took was Strategies for Success, which really helped me to look inside myself. It drew my strength out. It drew my abilities out — ones that I didn’t really know I had, because I’ve been such an invert [sic] most of my life because of being teased growing up, because I couldn’t talk right.

So, I feel more energetic, now. I feel more outgoing because of these classes. I highly recommend Strategies for Success. Sarah, who teaches the class, helped me to do all that stuff I just mentioned. She helped me to be more confident in my abilities.

When I went to the interview for this job I have now, I knocked it out of the park! I did a very good job, and the human resource person was very impressed. She said, “Very nice job.”

So, I found my dream job. I’m happy, and whoever is unemployed right now: I recommend WorkSource. You’ve got to come out to WorkSource. They’ll help you tremendously.

And also I want to give a shout out to the veterans representative, Cliff. He helped me navigate through the WorkSource website and gave me the classes I would need to attend. He’s the one that told me about Strategies for Success. He’s the one that told me about the resume classes, how to do applications, and classes for interviewing. So thank you very much, Cliff.

I’m very happy now. Tomorrow I start driving with a cadet, so I’m going to be doing his route while he sits and observes me. He’ll see how my driving skills are, how my interactions are with the customers and how I secure a wheelchair once I get the wheelchair in. So I’m happy, and if I did this on my own, I’d still be looking for work. So — go to WorkSource!

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

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Commissioner Conversation: Youth apprenticeship momentum gains and everyone benefits

Viewpoint from Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine.

Periodically we’ll feature posts directly from the Employment Security Department’s Commissioner Suzi LeVine. As we join the nation in celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, we’re excited to share her views with you!

Suzi-Eric @ AJAC

Commissioner Suzi LeVine and her husband, Eric, chat with Ardine Williams, VP of People for Amazon, about apprenticeships at the Career Connect Washington strategic plan launch on Oct. 25.

As many know, my husband, Eric, and I are, perhaps, the biggest advocates for youth apprenticeship in the whole world. We saw a profound system in Switzerland and have been doing everything we can to learn from and bring aspects of it here to the United States. We believe that it’s both essential to how we prepare our citizens for the future of work AND key to helping our businesses continue to grow and lead. Our efforts began in 2014 and are still going strong today.

That’s why recent events have been so important in terms of enabling the Apprenticeship Renaissance we’ve been working so hard to catalyze. Three events in three different locations last month really put some jet fuel in the system:

VPET in San Francisco

Wednesday, Oct. 24:  Since 2013, the City of Winterthur-Zurich has hosted the International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) where leaders from more than 80 nations gather to discuss “the global impact of vocational and professional education and training.” Recently the Swiss team that runs this global conference organized a mini-summit at which Eric and I keynoted and then moderated panels with employers, apprentices, intermediaries, workforce organizations and more. This was a great way to engage the tech community more deeply in the conversation of diversifying and expanding apprenticeship to an area of deep talent need.

Strategic Plan for Career Connect Washington

Gov Inslee CCW

Governor Jay Inslee speaks at the news conference where the Career Connect Washington strategic plan was delivered.

Thursday, Oct. 25: The Career Connect Washington team officially delivered its Strategic Plan to Governor Inslee, detailing the plan for how we might have an effective statewide youth apprenticeship system here in Washington State. Organizations such as Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente, Avista, our Community Colleges, SEH America, AFL-CIO, SEIU and government and academic dignitaries such as Superintendent Chris Reykal, Senator Lisa Wellman, and Governor Inslee spoke up advocating for this system!

Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA)

Friday, Oct. 26: New America Foundation launched PAYA  and Washington’s own Lynn Strickland, Executive Director of Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) presented her work – alongside many other leaders in youth “earn-and-learn” systems across America.

The American dream

For us to get multiple braided pathways going, we will need to catalyze movement on apprenticeship all across the United States. Again – these recent events –and many others–including the National Apprenticeship Week event in Everett last week–have been instrumental to catapulting us forward.

NAW 2018

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) ambassadors and I enjoyed the NAW celebration in Everett on Nov. 8

When, not if, we are successful, we will re-ignite the paths to success and the American Dream for more Americans than ever before!

Happy Apprenticeship Week!

IMG_0272

Check it out! The state’s job match website, WorkSourceWA.com, now supports Registered Apprenticeship in Washington.  We’ve launched a resource page, ApprenticeshipWA.com, this fall where job seekers and employers can take the first steps to join the apprenticeship momentum.

As a partner 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.  We also work with businesses to help them find employees.

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