#Poweredbyjobs: Business services specialist understands retail — and all employers!

To wrap up Careers in Retail Month, our Powered by Jobs post this week comes from Christina Chesnut, who’s well acquainted with retail businesses in Thurston and Lewis counties.

Today we catch her at a job fair at Capital Mall in Olympia doing what she’s good at: supporting employers by connecting them to their next great employee. Her story illustrates the partnerships within the workforce development system. Her success depends on the collaboration and teamwork of the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council and WorkSource.

And here’s Christina.

We’re here today for Careers in Retail Month at Capital Mall in Olympia, where we’re hosting a job fair at Macy’s. We have about 25 companies here, and so far today, over 100 job seekers have passed through.

I work for our Business Services team through the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce for the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council. My role is to help take care of business customers in the workforce system. We provide services like wage analysis and workforce plans, as well as opportunities like this job fair and events at WorkSource centers or at a company’s site.

We partner with other organizations, such as city transit and the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council, to give local businesses the support and resources they need.

As we’re wrapping up today’s job fair for Careers in Retail Month, we would love to invite you to come talk with us through the WorkSourceWA.com website. Or, reach out directly to one of our business services representatives at WorkSource.

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#Poweredbyjobs: Come with us on an adventure — find your career in retail!

As we continue to celebrate Careers in Retail Month, our Power of a Job post this week comes from an individual who has enjoyed a long and fulfilling career in the retail industry.

Meet Kevin Johnston, general manager of Capital Mall in Olympia, Wash. From his beginnings as a part-time stockman in the Midwest, all the way to his current position, Kevin describes his path in the industry as the American Dream, where opportunities abound. Kevin’s story shows that a career in retail “can be an adventure, if you want it to be.”

In Kevin’s own words, here’s more about his adventure in retail:

You could probably title my career “The American Dream.”

I started as an entry-level, part-time stockman for a large, southern-based retailer. I was fresh out of four years in the Air Force and looking for something to do, so I started working while I was waiting for something better to come along, and fortunately for me, nothing better came along.

I’ve had a very successful career, and it’s due mostly to what the American Dream is: hard work, show up to work every day, and a lot of advancing. I took several promotions and worked in 13 total retail stores over the course of my career, which spanned 25 years with the first retailer. If you’re going to pursue a career in retail, keep your eyes on the prize and you’ll get where you want to go.

From a part-time stockman, I became a department manager after a year, and got an offer to go into management. The retailer I was working with fortunately was experiencing very, very positive growth at the time. After 10 years with this company, I moved to Washington state and opened one of the few stores for this retailer at the time in the state, up in Port Angeles.

Port Angeles was the 13th stop in my retail career in 10 years, and so we decided to sink roots. My kids were small at the time, and we enjoyed the Northwest, we enjoyed the benefits of living in Washington and decided that this was going to be our home. I ran big-box retail stores for 10 years, and then switched careers to another retailer where I had another successful 3½ years.

Looking for a career change after 28 years, I was lucky enough to be contacted by the mall. Now I get the best of retail. Plus, the opportunity to be in property management and be able to see and react to the needs of retailers has been a big benefit for me. I think that things I’ve learned over the years is a big benefit for them as well.

In retail, you can actually do very well for yourself and enjoy an incredible career. I’ve done things that I couldn’t have done and seen things I couldn’t have seen if I had stayed home and worked down the street like so many of my relatives and friends.

Getting out to see the world — it’s really been beneficial to me and to my kids. Retail can be an adventure if you want it to be. So as we celebrate retail month, I would encourage you to visit WARetailCareers.com to see how the retail industry can benefit you.

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 are Powered by Jobs.

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#Poweredbyjobs: Retail supports one in every four American jobs. Celebrate Careers in Retail Month!

Currently, nearly 860,000 workers feel the Power of a Job in the retail industry, and over 75,000 retail establishments are powered by those jobs. Together, those are great reasons to celebrate Careers in Retail Month for Workforce Wednesday today.

We’re pleased to introduce Renee Sunde, president and CEO of the Washington Retail Association. A veteran in the retail world, Renee understands the industry’s value to Washington employers and workers. The place to connect, she says, is WorkSourceWA.com on the retail industry spotlight.

Here to tell you more about retail is Renee Sunde.

We’re excited to participate in the second Careers in Retail Month this September 2018.

Retail is an important part of every community —big, small, urban or rural. We all experience retail on a daily basis. Although the industry is experiencing massive change and transformation, the growth of retail continues to set pace with the state’s low unemployment rate and strong consumer confidence.

Washington is home to some of the nation’s top retail industry leaders: household names like Starbucks, Nordstrom’s, REI, Costco, Amazon, and the thousands of main street retailers serving our communities, drawing tourists from around the world; Washington state has made an indelible mark around the globe.

What many don’t realize is that retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in every four jobs. And in 2017, Washington retailers produced a $155 billion in taxable sales, or $19 billion in wages.

My personal connection with retail goes back to my college years working at Bellevue Square. Whether serving customers, merchandising or marketing, the skills I learned in those early years taught me many lessons about meeting and exceeding expectations of the people I served. After all, that’s what retail is all about: people.

The industry continues to experience rapid change, and job opportunities continue to evolve. Technology is carving out new career paths with e-commerce, web and application development. The industry offers broad options, from entry-level part-time work to management and executive positions. Today, more retail employers are offering training or tuition assistance to turn a job into a career.

An estimated 51,000 retail job openings are expected to be filled in Washington state by 2021. To begin your exciting career in retail, visit WorkSourceWa.com. If you’re an employer, you can list jobs for free.

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 are Powered by Jobs.

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#Power of a Job: Road from prison to WorkSource leads to a career, then on to…WorkSource?

It’s Workforce Wednesday, and today we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Power of a Job story series.

Washington State Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine marks the occasion by stepping in front of the camera to interview a WorkSource customer. She introduces John Cardona, who found a job with help from WorkSource Rainier after he was released from prison. Fate brings him back to tell us – and you – the story of finding himself back at WorkSource Rainier.

Commissioner interviews customer to mark Power of a Job anniversary

Suzi LeVine: “Welcome to Power of a Job, a blog and video series of success stories about the powerful effect a job can have in someone’s life.

I’m Suzi LeVine, commissioner of the Washington State Employment Security Department and I’m introducing today’s video because we’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of the series. Real stories from Employment Security, WorkSource staff and our customers demonstrate how we connect thousands of people every day to jobs and careers.

We also have stories called Powered by Jobs about connecting employers to the talent they need to make their businesses thrive.

In honor of this one-year milestone, I have the honor of interviewing John Cardona, who found a job with help from staff at WorkSource Rainier. Please help me welcome and meet John. Such a pleasure having you here.”

John Cardona: “Nice being here.”

Suzi: “First, John, I would love to understand: How did you get to this situation, where you were looking for a job.”

John: “Well, I ended up in this position because I’d recently been released from prison and needed to find a job. I was at a halfway house on Capitol Hill and they suggested WorkSource. It happened that WorkSource actually came to the halfway house and introduced themselves to us. I thought, this sounds like a really cool place where there’s a lot of resources, and I could use all the help I can get to find myself.”

Suzi: “What were some of those resources you took advantage of?”

John: “There was resume building and a network of tools available to apply for jobs. There’s also a website [WorkSourceWA.com] with so many available jobs, so much other information and relevant help. I knew if I used it correctly, I would be able to find a job. The website even has a personality test so you can find a job that caters to your personality. I was very interested in that test, to see where I would fit.”

Suzi: “So where did you end up?”

John: “I ended up working for an HVAC [heating, venting and air conditioning] company. I actually knew this was the right job because while I was in prison, I received training for the job and I knew I would enjoy it when I was out.”

Suzi: “Let me just get this straight: When you were in prison, you were learning and gaining skills so that you could be ready when you left?”

John: “Yes.”

Suzi: “That’s kind of awesome. What’s the name of the company for whom you work?”

John: “I work for TEC Mechanical.”

Suzi: “That’s great they were excited about having you come on board. So, how did we find you again?

John: “Well, you guys actually found me again, because my company contracts for this Rainier WorkSource building. I came here in my third week of working for TEC Mechanical and fixed one of your air conditioners here.”

Suzi: “We’re able to enjoy a hot day in a cool room because of you.”

John: “Yes.”

Suzi: “So what’s next for you?”

John: “I believe I want to keep going and see where this career takes me. Continue with my company, see what they’ll give me. I know I want to work as hard as I can for as long as I can.”

Suzi: “Are you going to do additional training or are you gaining more skills?”

John: “I’m always looking to gain more skills. Right now, I’m a student at Shoreline Community College, learning clean energy technologies. I can use that in my field of work right now. I just need to figure out how I can use that clean energy technologies in my HVAC job.

Suzi: “Talk about a growing area of need in our state and across our country. John, thank you so much for sharing your incredibly inspiring story. I think a lot of people will learn from it. Thank you to the folks at WorkSource Rainier as well, for helping John find this incredible job.

If you’re interested, you too can take advantage of WorkSource and the great people who work here. Every year, we have thousands of people who find a job through the services we provide, so come and join us. Check it out. WorkSourceWA.com.”

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.

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