#Powerofajob: Searching for “the unemployment office,” job seeker instead discovers herself

Welcome to Workforce Wednesday!

The Employment Security Department is a partner in Washington’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network. We help 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 Karen Kolbach, who found more than she ever expected at WorkSource Vancouver. She started out looking for the “unemployment office.” What she discovered was her confidence, along with abilities she didn’t know she had.

 Once upon a time, Employment Security did have “unemployment offices.” Located around the state, they were called “Job Service Centers” that helped people with unemployment claims as well as their job search. In the late 1990s, however, our call center started handling all unemployment claims and questions by phone. Neighborhood WorkSource offices replaced Job Service Centers and now provide an array of job search and training services for job seekers and employers.

Here is Karen’s story:

I started out looking for the unemployment office. When I couldn’t find it anywhere, somebody suggested that I go to WorkSource. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been using all the programs they have.

And then I finally got into the Strategies for Success [life-skills] class. After being employed for 20 years, it has really helped me discover who I am, helped me come out of my shell and get over the shock of being unemployed.

Going through all the classes — it’s been wonderful! We go one-on-one and we get into groups. I’ve been able to educate myself on what I need to do in order to get back into the workforce and into a whole different program than what I was in before. It’s been so beneficial.

The people here at WorkSource have been so helpful – helping me to learn computer skills that I didn’t know and didn’t realize I had to have. It’s just been an eye-opener.

I suggest this to anyone; I wish people who are working would go to this class, too, because it’s been so helpful.

So now I’m ready to get back out into the workforce! I have a lot more confidence in myself and that’s pretty much it. It’s just been a wonderful experience working on my strategy for success, and someday I know I’ll be successful!

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