Teamwork: Three WorkSource staff connect a veteran to housing, food and finally – a job

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

This week, three WorkSource staff demonstrate the value of collaboration. WorkSource is a partnership of state, local and non-profit agencies that work together — often in the same buildings — to deliver employment and training services to Washington businesses and job seekers. Debi Keyser, Jarred Rendon and Luis Torres all work at WorkSource Central Basin in Moses Lake. They relied on each other to help a customer find temporary housing and food for his family. They then assessed his skills and connected him to a great job.

In this story, but not in all, the customer is a military veteran. WorkSource places about 10,000 veterans into jobs each year.

Debi: Hi, I’m Debi Keyser with WorkSource Central Basin here in Moses Lake, Washington. I’m a WorkFirst [Washington’s temporary cash assistance program] job coach.

Jarred: Hello, my name is Jarred Rendon. I’m a case manager for Support & Services for Veterans and Families (SSVF) at HopeSource, working in Grant and Adams counties.

Luis: Hi, my name is Luis Torres. I’m a veterans employment representative for WorkSource Central Basin. Today, for Power of a Job, we’d like to feature a veteran family we supported here at WorkSource.

One of the great things about this story is that involved multiple case managers working on behalf of this family. It showcases one of many successes that happen throughout our state. Hundreds of people come through our office doors needing assistance, and we provide that assistance. Most of these stories go untold, but here is one of them. Jared will kick off the story.

Jarred: The veteran family contacted me looking for services. The first thing we did was to identify barriers they had. The first barrier identified was transportation. Their vehicle was in need of some repairs and the tires were worn. The SSVF program was able to provide funds to get their vehicle repaired.

We also identified that they were homeless, living in their car with an infant. We connected them with a community partner: the Housing Authority of Grant County, which immediately provided transitional housing. The family was without income, so we connected them with WorkSource for employment services.

Luis: That’s how I met the family. I contacted them to set up an appointment. The father came in, and one of the first things we did was create a resume. We made sure we highlighted all his skills and abilities; we included all the things he learned in the military that translate to civilian job skills.

We created a account and uploaded his resume so that he could immediately start looking for jobs. One of the other great things WorkSource does is connect customers with a network of employers. We started sending off his resume (with his consent) to try to get him interviews. He had many gaps in his job history, so having a good solid resume was crucial. We referred him to WorkFirst.

Debi: The father was referred to me through the Department of Social & Health Services. I was working with him in the lobby of the Central Basin WorkSource center, when an employer walked in looking for somebody to install windows — a glazier position. I introduced the customer to the employer, who set up an interview. He was hired on the spot and started the next day. I was able to help him get gas for his vehicle and clothes for the job.

As Luis was saying, at WorkSource we offer a variety of services. All three of us worked with one individual and helped him to be a successful employee. He’s doing really well.

Jarred:  The client came in homeless, with many barriers to employment, and with our assistance started his job making $15 an hour and he’s now making over $20 an hour. So he’s providing for himself, his family and contributing to the community.  He is very, very happy.

Luis: That’s what we do at WorkSource! You have a whole team that works for you, making sure we do everything we can to help you be successful. WorkSource does work!

 Debi: Yes, it does!

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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