Mexican Consulate in Seattle and Employment Security Department sign historic agreement

For the first time, the Employment Security Department (ESD) and the Consulate of México in Seattle have a formal protocol for working together.

ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine and Consul Roberto Dondisch signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) — one copy in Spanish and one in English — to document how the two organizations work together. The signing ceremony aligned with Hispanic Heritage Month, Mexican Independence Day and Labor Rights Week.

Suzi LeVine and Roberto Dondisch

Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine and Consul Roberto Dondisch display the signed Memorandum of Cooperation — one copy in Spanish and one in English. One wall of the room where the signing ceremony took place was made entirely of glass. On the other side, individuals and families awaited their turn to speak with consulate staff about a variety of issues, and the voices carried slightly through the glass. “I love that we have the sounds of kids around us,” said Suzi in her remarks. “They represent the work we do.”

 

For years, the Mexican Consulate and ESD have collaborated to help Mexican Nationals and Mexican-Americans in Washington understand their rights and responsibilities under the unemployment program. By law, they jointly handle labor-related complaints. And — not by law, but through a shared desire to serve their common customers — they travel to different areas of the state to meet with people who speak Spanish, educating them about services offered by the two entities and about WorkSource.

Alicia Cárdenas, Employment Security’s Spanish outreach manager, represents ESD at these outreach events, where she often fields questions from consulate staff about how to handle and where to refer people with particular labor issues.
“The majority of consulate staff are appointees arriving mainly from México City or other states, and when they come to Washington, they’re not familiar with state law,” said Alicia. “ESD has mechanisms to handle just about any situation we encounter. And this MOC documents how we work together.”

Nothing in the MOC is new, Alicia said.

“We put the pieces together and memorialized the way the two organizations work together. It’s a package that we all can refer to, even as the players on both sides change over the years,” she said.

The signing ceremony took place in late August at the Consulate of México in Seattle.

Staff from the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle and from the Washington State Employment Security Department

Gathering after the signing ceremony are, left to right: Luis Mingo, the consulate’s head of Political and Economic Affairs; Deputy Consul Eduardo Sosa; Ricardo Mora of the consulate’s Protection and Legal Affairs Department; Rafael Colón, ESD’s SharedWork marketing manager; Lorena Toyos of the consulate’s Protection and Legal Affairs Department; Alicia Cárdenas, ESD’s Spanish outreach manager; Consul Roberto Dondisch; Commissioner Suzi LeVine; René Maldonado, Washington’s state monitor advocate; Janelle Guthrie, ESD’s communications director; Alberto Isiodia, Central WorkSource Region director; and Diana Oliveros of the consulate’s Communities Department.

“Staff at the Employment Security Department…provide an array of outreach and advocacy services to those you serve. And to be clear — it is who WE serve!”
Commissioner Suzi LeVine said in her remarks at the ceremony. “These shared customers deserve the clarity and respect this memorandum signifies.”

ESD works with other consulates, too, but its relationship with the Mexican Consulate is the most active because Washington is home to 1 million Hispanics. Plus, many Hispanics come to Washington to work.

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#PowerOfAJob: The power of a manufacturing job – a career path for Builders, Dreamers and Makers

Happy Workforce Wednesday! Currently, more than 282,000 workers feel the Power of a Job in Washington’s manufacturing industry, and their average wages are 30 percent higher than the average wage in other sectors. Because manufacturing is a cornerstone of Washington state’s economy, we are celebrating Careers in Manufacturing Month for Workforce Wednesday today.

We’re happy to introduce Kris Johnson, chief executive officer for the Association of Washington Business, and supporter of the manufacturing industry and WAManufacturingCareers.com.

Hello. I’m Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest association and the state’s designated manufacturing association.

Manufacturing is a cornerstone of the state’s economy, from building the best airplanes in the world to creating the finest music stands that are shipped around the globe. With manufacturers operating in every county in the state, this important sector represents nearly 9 percent of Washington’s employment and generates more than $58 billion for the state’s economy.

In fact, more than 282,000 hard-working Washingtonians, men and women in every county, work in this important sector, with an average wage of more than $72,000 a year. That’s a 30 percent higher rate than the average wage in other sectors. And manufacturing has one of the highest percentages of workers, 92 percent, who are eligible for employer healthcare benefits.

In addition to the technology sector, today’s manufacturing sector is dynamic, robust and high-tech. In fact, the manufacturing sector performs more than three-quarters of all private sector research and development in the nation, driving innovation across the industry and opening up new job opportunities with endless career possibilities. Many of our state’s manufacturers offer on-the-job training and most only require a trade certificate or a two-year degree – a good fit for students looking to move straight from high school to the workforce. And many of the employers in the sector actively support employees in their endeavors to advance their careers within the workplace through work-based training or continuing education.

Manufacturing careers offer workers the opportunity to make great things – products that address an unmet need or improve upon the technology of the past. The power of a manufacturing job is that it truly is a career path for builders, for dreamers and for makers.

To learn more about manufacturing careers, find available jobs and to post a resume, visit WAManufacturingCareers.com.

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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#Powerofajob: Customer’s obstacles don’t stop WorkSource from doing what it does best

Happy Workforce Wednesday! October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. In partnership with the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues & Employment (GCDE), we’re proud to help raise awareness about employment issues experienced by people with disabilities.

In this week’s Power of a Job post, Susan Milke of WorkSource Vancouver talks about Nicole, a job seeker who has a disability. WorkSource connected her to needed benefits and job leads. Nicole expertly took it from there, leaving every one — Nicole, her new employer and WorkSource staff — with a smile.  

Here is Susan’s story about Nicole.

Nicole had worked with us in the past, and then we did not see her for quite a while because she had a job. Well, she lost her job, not through any fault of her own; the job was eliminated. So she started coming back here again, which was really exciting to us because we knew her and we were so pleased that she felt comfortable to come back.

Nicole did have some barriers: she needed to use a walker. But she came in every day, got herself in here and made full use of our resources. She attended some of the Strategies for Success [life-skills course] modules; she hooked up with the Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET) program, using resources such as fuel cards and that type of thing.

She attended many of our workshops, and as you know, all of our services are free. She hooked up with resource room staff and employment specialists for job leads, doing her job search, and helping her apply for jobs online. She had great computer skills, but if you ever have applied online, you know sometimes those applications are arduous.

As we got to know her, we knew what type of positions she was looking for; she wanted an administrative or receptionist position. We had an upcoming hiring event and a specific employer was going to be there. We knew we had a perfect job for her.

We encouraged her to come to that event, and she did. We told the employer about her because he had made it very clear he was open to working with people with disabilities. Nicole met him, he arranged an interview and she got the job!

We were excited because she shared with us that the employer worked around her schedule. She has a young son, and she was able to get her son to school and daycare and still make it to work on time.

A couple weeks ago, I stopped by and was so excited and delighted to see that Nicole was employee of the month in June. Her picture was up, and the employer brought her out just to say hi. She shared with me — the employer did not tell me this — that the employer had installed an ADA-approved door-opening device so she could navigate the building. [ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act.]

It was just a really happy outcome, and we want to encourage all of you, whether you’re looking for a job or exploring careers: Come in! We want to talk with 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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