#Powerofajob: WorkSource helps a veteran start a great manufacturing career

It’s Workforce Wednesday, when we spotlight Power of a Job success stories.

This week Torry, a veteran and a rising star for his employer, tells us about his new job in aerospace manufacturing. He took advantage of the resources available at WorkSource Everett and used WorkSourceWA.com to connect to a great career!

Here is Torry’s story:

I am Rich Torgeson, supervisor of the components department at ATS (Aerospace Technical Services), in Everett. I oversee seven different shops and seven different leads report to me on our activities. Recently our recruiting department found Torry Confer for our electrical shop, through WorkSource Everett.

Torry: I decided to get out of the military after six years of service and tried college for the first time in my life. One of the things I realized going to school – it was not for me.

Someone I met said I should try WorkSource Everett. I visited the center where they helped me improve my resume, improve my interview skills and get training. On their website [WorkSourceWA.com], there were lots of job openings listed, including the manufacturing company ATS. [I was interested, so] the WorkSource center reached out to them for me and said they were interested in setting up an interview.

Rich: He [Torry] interviewed extremely well, presented himself very nicely, was knowledgeable and well spoken.

Torry: At the interview, I told them about my prior military experience with aviation and electronics troubleshooting.

Rich: The interview went really well. They offered him a position and within a couple weeks, he was in orientation to start work. Once he got into the shop, I was so relieved because it is hard to find people who have a zest for getting things done. Staff have to consume tons of technical data and because he is a very smart person, he picked it up quickly. Now he has fast tracked himself on our progress-scale at an accelerated rate. This is wonderful because maybe 25 percent of folks have that ability and even less have that inspiration to go out of the box and go beyond. Torry has been a great addition to our electrical shop and I see him accelerating into leadership in the coming years.

Torry: I highly recommend going to your local WorkSource office, where they can help with your resume (just as they did with me), and get a job that you can use.

Rich: Get with WorkSource and they will get with companies like ATS to find you a place where you can have long-term employment, and even seniority, which is a great thing to have in a company. I highly recommend that for anyone who is looking for a new job or a career path.

As a partner 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, which are Powered by Jobs, to help them find employees.

To leave a comment, select the comment bubble icon next to the title of this post.

#Poweredbyjobs: Think mechatronics for Careers in Manufacturing Month

As we celebrate careers in manufacturing month, our Powered by Jobs post this week comes from Mary Kaye Bredeson, executive director at the Center for Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing in Everett.

She addresses all of the great events happening around Washington this month in manufacturing, the reasons people should look into the industry as a career choice, and what the future has in store for the industry.

Here’s Mary Kaye:

Hello. We are one of 10 centers of excellence here in Washington state that are funded by our State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. We are so excited to be celebrating careers in manufacturing this month!

A lot is going on. Manufacturing day was Oct. 4 and 7. Many of our community colleges are offering tours to young high school students, and even middle school students, so they can see all the opportunities in advanced manufacturing, especially here in Washington state: home of Boeing. We have a lot of great jobs in aerospace.

If you’d like to visit our website, coewa.com, you’ll see lots of examples and testimonials from successful students who have gone through our programs.

Of the 34 community technical colleges, about 26 offer some type of aerospace, aviation or advanced manufacturing that supports careers or training in Washington. Right now, you’ll see that we’re focusing on mechatronics [a field of engineering that includes mechanical and computer engineering, robotics, electronics, telecommunications and more]. We’ve met with Amazon, Boeing, food and fruit processing companies, and logistics. You can start a great career if you take a two-year mechatronic program at one of the 12 community colleges currently offering it.

Many careers in mechatronics are available in aerospace. If you were to tour the Boeing triple seven x-wing box facility just down the street from us, you’ll recognize that Boeing is now using an automated system — huge machines that need industrial machine maintenance. This is what we’re preparing students for. If you go through our training programs and complete a degree in mechatronics, you will be highly sought after.

The industry is paying starting wages anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000, depending on experience. Many companies are offering paid internships and looking for individuals with this type of training.

Also, we have a pilot shortage. We’re trying to entice young people to become pilots. We also need maintenance repair people — MROs: maintenance repair operations. We’re located at Everett Community College. Great opportunities!

I can’t stress how important it is for us to start enticing young people into careers in automated systems, avionics and robotics. This is the wave of the future. In fact, you’ve probably heard it referred to as Industry 4.0. Our manufacturing companies are becoming smarter and more automated by using robotics. We need young people to maintain those automated machines and think of careers in advanced manufacturing.

As we continue to celebrate careers in manufacturing, I would encourage you to 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.

To leave a comment, select the comment bubble icon next to the title of this post.

WorkSource tenacity, ingenuity finally leads veteran with a disability to his dream career

Workforce Wednesday celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month with a post about “Ron,” a combat veteran with a disability. Over the course of four years, Ron worked with Seth Maier, a veterans-employment specialist at WorkSource Spokane. After many attempts at school and jobs, persistence finally pays off when Ron lands a job with an orthotics and prosthetics company.

Disability Employment Awareness Month is an opportunity to showcase an often overlooked workforce with a wealth of talent, as well as the employers who hire them.

“Employers benefit from hiring employees with diverse abilities,” said Mandeep Kaundal, chairman of the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues & Employment. “It drives innovation.”

And now we present today’s Power of a Job story: Seth Maier of WorkSource Spokane.

Hello. I’m a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program case manager at WorkSource Spokane. People in my position are stationed in most of the WorkSource offices in Washington state and also in most of the American Job Centers across the United States.

Today I want to tell you a story about an Army veteran I started working with in 2014. “Ron” had some significant injuries that required him to use a cane. He had a hard time finding a direction. He had this yo-yo pattern of pursuing education, getting a job and then going back to school. He worked as a medical technician and then got burnt out. Then he pursued a fabrication job, but his injuries wouldn’t let him be successful, so he went back to school, then dropped out to get a security job.

He was burning through his education benefits and burning through his entitlement, and each time he returned to a job, it seemed like he was getting less and less pay. So when he came back to me, he was really unsure about what direction to take.

We offered some skills assessments, and it pointed to him to the health sciences field. I also knew that he had a talent in ceramics. He had built these beautiful water pitchers on a ceramics wheel, so I knew he had a very sensitive touch, as well as a fabrication and engineering background. I knew about an orthotics and prosthetics program at our local community college, and I thought it would be a good fit.

I arranged for him to have a visit there, a tour of the facility and to learn about the program. He got very excited and he enrolled. He applied for the Veterans Administration’s vocational rehabilitation program, they approved him, and he was off! This past July, he finished the program having only one last step to complete a 199-hour practicum before graduation.

We located a hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and arranged for him to get an online informational interview. During the interview, we couldn’t see them or hear them, but the system said we were connected. Ron was getting really stressed and verbalized how important this opportunity was for him, and that he didn’t want to mess it up. He was getting really nervous, and then all of a sudden, his cellphone rang and it was the hospital saying, “Hey, we can hear you and see you just fine!” So it really broke the ice and helped to humanize him. It allowed him to drop his ego and to be really honest about what he wanted.

Ron was from Michigan, and this job was an opportunity for him to go home. The hospital was so impressed, they immediately followed up with a formal interview and ended up creating a position for him. Not only was he able to complete his practicum, but he also got a paid position. They arranged that, as soon as he got his certification, his pay would immediately go up.

This hospital was really the point of the spear in orthotics and prosthetics across the nation, so Ron was really excited about this opportunity. The hospital offered a $2,000 reimbursement for his relocation expenses. We got him over there using the Hilton Honors Program, which allowed him to be housed in a hotel for the first three days. He was able to get temporary housing, while another organization helped him rent an apartment.

This is just an awesome story. At WorkSource, we develop long-term relationships with some of our customers. We see them over the years, building rapport and friendships. We want the best for the person we’re serving. It doesn’t matter if it takes years; our customers know that if they need to get a better job, they can always come back. We’re available for them. This is just an exceptional example of a long-term relationship with a combat veteran who needed help reaching his employment goals.

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.

To leave a comment, select the comment bubble icon next to the title of this post.

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.

#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.

To leave a comment, select the comment bubble icon next to the title of this post.