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.


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