Power of a job: Cross-county collaboration helps a veteran relocate and 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 Luis Torres and Clint Hede, who both help connect veterans to jobs, training and other services. Luis is a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program case manager for WorkSource Central Basin, which covers Grant and Adams counties. Clint is a Local Veterans Employment Representative for WorkSource offices in Yakima, Klickitat, Kittitas and Skamania counties.

Here’s a story about how they collaborated across counties to help a veteran find a job and relocate so that she could accept the job.

Luis: So, today we’re here to talk about Bobbi. She’s an Army veteran who was referred to me through the vocational rehabilitation and employment program that’s run through the Veterans Administration. Bobbi was getting ready to finish up an internship in information technology (IT) and needed help finding stable employment after her internship ended.

We helped revise her resume and started providing referrals to jobs and service agencies for veterans. We also helped enroll her in the Hilton Honors Program, which gives 100,000 hotel points to veterans to use for anything job related. So, when they need to travel for job interviews and things like that, they can use the points instead of their own income.

We were having a tough time finding her a job when I saw an email from Clint, saying that he had a good job for anybody interested in IT work.

Clint: I had heard about an opening for an IT professional at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I sent out the notice to WorkSource offices regionally because I didn’t have anyone for the position locally. Luis responded rapidly with Bobbi’s resume, which I sent to the hiring authority, and they were very interested. They interviewed Bobbi, liked her and hired her.

Luis: After Bobbi was offered the job, we had a problem: She lived in Soap Lake and the job was located in Prosser — definitely not a commutable distance. She already had finished her internship; she had no income and was living in a travel trailer. She also had therapy horses that we had to consider when helping her relocate.

We reached out to the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs about a program called the Veterans Innovation Program, or VIP. Bobbi was awarded $2,000 to help her relocate. We helped her find a rental where she could have her horses. She moved to the Yakima area, started work and has been very happy in her new federal job.

In closing, WorkSource has a huge network of veterans employment representatives throughout the state, and we use each other. We’re able to connect veterans to different opportunities that they might not normally know about.

Clint: And if you’re an employer looking to hire a veteran, we highly encourage you to participate in Washington state’s YesVets program. Go to YesVets.org.

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