#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. 

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