#PowerofaJob: WorkSource helps experienced engineer land aerospace job

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. We also work with businesses to help them find employees because we know they’re Powered by Jobs.

This week’s Power of a Job story features Manu Morgan of WorkSource Lynnwood. She helped “Senae,” a highly skilled aerospace engineer. Manu helped Senae realize that her experience wasn’t enough; her resume, cover letter and interviewing skills needed work. They worked together and the result: a job!

“Sanae” visited the WorkSource Lynnwood office in October 2016. She had been laid off from an aerospace company and was struggling to find work. Sanae’s work history in aerospace was extensive and she had a passion for her field of structural analysis engineering. In her cover letter, she mentioned that, as a little girl, she always wanted to go to the moon.

Sanae was 46 at the time, and she’s a Japanese-American. She shared that she would have to move back to Japan and live with her parents if she continued to be unsuccessful finding work as a prototype flight tester.

We reviewed her resume several times and offered help with editing and formatting. I also helped her with her cover letter and suggested that she attend workshops to build her confidence. She attended many, but the ones she enjoyed the most were ones that included resume and cover letter writing, and mock interviewing. Sanae also regularly participated in our professional networking group.

The mock interviews greatly increased Sanae’s confidence in communicating her skills and abilities. She began applying for work in California and was interviewed twice for a company there. The employer even flew her out to see the company’s prototype aircraft.

Sanae then received an offer from a company in Washington state and accepted the job, earning $147 an hour. She was just beaming when she came in to tell us. Sanae shared how happy she is to be able to stay in the U.S. and that WorkSource helped her to secure work in a field she loves.

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WorkSource eases a disabled veteran’s transition to civilian work

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. We also work with businesses to help them find employees because we know they’re Powered by Jobs.

This week’s Power of a Job story features Matt Hoerner — a disabled veteran who overcomes his struggle to make the transition to civilian life.

After 22 years in the military, Matt Hoerner held five different white-collar civilian jobs in his first two years after service. Leaving the culture of the military for private sector office jobs proved too difficult a transition for him.

He needed a change in approach. Being 90 percent disabled, Matt decided to apply for vocational rehabilitation through the Department of Social and Health Services. That’s where he met Tiffany Plous of WorkSource Vancouver and that’s when his career path took a turn for the better.

Tiffany is a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program representative. With 14 years of service in the U.S. Army, she understood Matt’s struggles.

From the beginning, Tiffany set up Matt for success. She made sure he checked in every week. If he didn’t, she contacted him. Their connection encouraged him, and her mentorship made the difference, he said.

She removed obstacles for him — tangible and not — such as discussing and mitigating his distrust of civilian employers and even buying appropriate clothes. He owned only the suits and ties needed for his previous jobs, not the boots and sweatshirts he needed for his new career path.

“I’m a better person because of this experience and am thankful this program exists,” Matt said, “I don’t think I could have been remotely as successful as I am without [Tiffany].”

Matt started work with a reputable construction company even before his training ended. He enjoys his job and is excited to continue in the industry.

#PowerofaJob: Focusing on what she can control helps student 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 Kate Greene of WorkSource Thurston County. This instructor of Strategies for Success — a life-skills class at WorkSource — shares how she helped Jesse, a homeless mom. Kate helped Jesse move her attention away from circumstances beyond her control and focus instead on changing what she could control. The result: three interviews and a job offer!

Jesse was a Strategies for Success participant who I spent about three weeks with, off and on.

She was homeless and had been bouncing around, living at different times with her mother, sister or father. No situation was working out. She also had a four-year-old son. She was in and out of sanction* and, at one point during the class, was hospitalized. She was just struggling to figure out how to become independent and successful with her employment and as a mother.

So we worked a lot together on her roadmap to success, which is probably my favorite tool in our program. It’s basically a picture of where you are now and where you want to be. It was a great visual for her to keep adding to and working on.

But a lot of the work with her was getting her focus away from her external conditions and situations, which ultimately we can’t control. I watched her come into every class with a lot of scattered energy, responding to the chaos in her life and finger pointing to these situations being the cause of where she found herself.

Then I watched her hone in and learn what she can control. I watched her listening intently, taking it all in and continuing to design her plan. So, over the course of my short time with her, she had three job interviews and is now currently employed with Lucky Eagle Casino.

*Department of Social & Health Services clients can be sanctioned for failing to complete WorkFirst (Washington’s welfare to work program) activities without a good reason.

#Powerofajob: WorkSource & YesVets program drive success

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. 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 Dion McNeely — a veteran who started as a driver and is now president of Commercial Driving School (CDS) in King County. The Employment Security Department honored CDS with the coveted Hire-a-Vet Award in 2016 for its support of the YesVets hiring program. Over 70 percent of the company’s employees are veterans and 53 percent have a service-connected VA Disability Rating. Here Dion shares his support for the YesVets program after our annual YesVets celebration at the state Capitol in June 2017.

The main reason the YesVets program is important to us is not only because we hire veterans and it’s nice to be recognized for that. But we also work with a lot of employers, and they’re always trying to find out how to hire veterans. When we point out there’s a program that will actually recognize them for hiring veterans, that makes it more important to them — which helps us.

It’s nice to be able to go to my partners and say not only, “I think it’s important to hire veterans,” but also, ”Here’s a whole program that says it’s good and why.”

You know how most companies have an onboarding process? It’s nice to take a service member who’s had a six- to 13-week onboarding process where someone was yelling at them every single day to ours where we’re not yelling at them and they have a really good experience. For us, it’s a real easy transition.

I mentioned it earlier, but our company has almost literally doubled in size almost every year for four years straight, based on our ability to not only hire veterans but also to work with [the veterans representatives at WorkSource who help us with job placement.] That is completely reliant on our relationship with WorkSource.

#Power of a Job: Student of life-skills class transforms herself, lands a job interview

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 a story from WorkSource Columbia Basin in Kennewick. Our Strategies for Success instructor, Olivia Mendoza, shares how a reluctant student became a big champion of the life-skills program and landed a job interview.

My name is Olivia Mendoza and I’m a Strategies for Success instructor at WorkSource Columbia Basin in Kennewick. I want to share a story about one of my students.

When she came to class the first time, I could tell she was very nervous. Her anxiety level was really high. She was uncomfortable just being around other students.

She was a Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS) client, and DSHS had sanctioned* her, requiring her to attend four weeks of class to have the sanction removed. As an instructor, that’s a very difficult situation. Because she had never worked and never participated in the class, DSHS had basically punished her and said “You are going to participate.”

But soon things changed. She had perfect attendance and her confidence grew. She started feeling comfortable and sharing more. At the end of four weeks, she felt the class was really valuable. So she asked DSHS for permission to attend the additional two weeks of classes that were not required.

Now, she came to class full of energy and excitement. She told us about practicing her new skills with family at home. She even handed out flyers to people outside the WorkSource office, encouraging them to take the class.

Yesterday, I received a text from her saying that she had her first job interview. It’s pretty exciting to see her growth and to think back about where she came from.

*DSHS clients can be sanctioned for failing to complete WorkFirst (Washington’s welfare to work program) activities without a good reason.