Power of a Job: WorkSource Vancouver helps job seeker mend her “broken spirit”

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 Debbie Smith, a job seeker with a broken spirit who got back on track at WorkSource Vancouver in Strategies for Success: a life-skills class series.

Here’s Debbie’s story:

I’m 61 years old and got fired from my job in September 2017. I was completely broken and didn’t know what to do with myself. I had never been let go from a job, fired or used unemployment benefits. I was in bad shape emotionally.

I signed up for unemployment benefits and learned about WorkSource. I met Charles at WorkSource Vancouver who helped me do a reality check. Once I realized I had lots of options, I calmed down and knew it going to be OK.

I was enrolled in a six-week Strategies for Success course at WorkSource. I learned about interviewing, how to create a resume and the proper way to fill out an application.

Afterward, I attended a Clark College class. The instructor encouraged me to return to school and look at different career options. I’d been a product manager and really didn’t want to do that again. She signed me up for an AutoCAD [computer-aided design and drafting software] class and a career exploration class.

My first semester ended with six credits and A’s in both classes. In January, I started as a full-time student to earn an associate degree in marketing. I’m working to get my unemployment benefits extended.

I have nothing but the highest praise for WorkSource. I tell everyone what they do for people who are dislocated or unemployed. I’m even encouraging my daughter, who is 19, to take the Strategies for Success series.

I’m so enthused by the things I learned in just six weeks. I’m ready to go out and conquer the world and start the next chapter of life!

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Power of a Job: Disabled veteran discovers new, fulfilling direction at WorkSource

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 is about James Thomas, a customer of WorkSource Cowlitz-Wahkiakum. He suffered a head injury and couldn’t return to his usual line of work. WorkSource helped him re-imagine his life and take those first exciting steps down a brand new career path.

Four years ago, I had a work-related injury. I broke my skull while working in Redding, Calif. I had to figure out how to come out of it and get back into the workforce.

One of my problems was headaches, so I moved to Washington, where the weather is much better and I could handle my pain. Then, I had to focus on my cognitive skills, and I got involved with WorkSource. As a part of my TANF [Temporary Assistance to Needy Families] benefits, I had to show I was working toward my goals.

WorkSource gave me the tools to get back into the workforce. It helped me find what I wanted to do because I couldn’t go into contracting anymore. I didn’t feel that was possible with my pain levels.

WorkSource steered me toward the medical field and toward helping those with problems with head injuries. I have a heart for that.

WorkSource helped me switch over my California driver’s license and vehicle registration to Washington, and even helped me fix my vehicle. I needed it to attend classes, so they jumped on that. “We have a program for that,” they said.

They’ve been phenomenal. I’m a disabled veteran, so I get veterans services. I have a general worker here [at WorkSource Cowlitz-Wahkiakum] named Esther [Sadlier] and she’s in touch with Tammi [Leclerc], my Strategies for Success instructor. Amazing team. All they’re interested in is helping you and giving you the tools to go further.

And now, because of them, I’m getting in a program called Title I that is going to pay for my [certified nursing assistant degree] and eventually my [physician assistant degree] so I can help people with dementia and problems with cognitive rehabilitation.

I couldn’t be happier with WorkSource.

#PoweredByJobs: WorkSource helps Comcast hire thousands of veterans and spouses

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 Mark Brown from the Comcast Service Center in Lynnwood. The Employment Security Department honored Comcast with the coveted Hire-a-Vet Award in 2017 for its support of the YesVets hiring program. Comcast used WorkSourceWA.com to promote job openings and attended numerous veteran-focused hiring events in Snohomish County in 2017. As a result, the company’s Washington Recruiting Region was named No. 1 in the nation with Comcast.

I’m Mark Brown, director of talent for Comcast here in Washington. In 2015, Comcast made a commitment to hire 10,000 military veterans and spouses by March of 2018 and we’re almost there.

By mid-January 2018, Comcast had hired more than 9,500 military veterans and family members. Because WorkSource is committed to getting veterans and spouses hired, they’re a key partner to helping accomplish this goal. We use them to:

  • Provide important labor market data to find specific candidate populations
  • Perform training for candidates who need it
  • Use their deep connections with local, state and nonprofit organizations to aggregate our recruiting efforts.

Also, because of our partnership, we know where and when the best job fairs are happening and which candidates we should be talking to.

If you don’t use the WorkSource business services team as part of your talent acquisition strategy, I’d encourage you to take a look at it. The strategy has definitely helped us achieve our goals and we’re looking forward to the partnership as we go forward.