#Powerofajob: Job seeker finds classes, confidence at WorkSource

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

This week, we bring you Delia Armendariz, who moved to Kitsap County and was surprised to find so much help and so many services at WorkSource.

Here is her story:

I recently moved to the area [Kitsap County] and heard WorkSource was a good place to have your resume reviewed. I was surprised to learn they offer great courses, too. I took the five core courses and even repeated a few, because they’re taught by different instructors and I learn something new every single time I go.

At WorkSource, instead of someone just reviewing my resume, they taught us how to build a professional one. Life changed since I first started looking for a job years ago, so it is helpful to have the latest and the greatest information. It’s amazing that all these resources are at my disposal.

I attended the classes, studied and took time to build a professional looking resume. Several WorkSource staff reviewed it and provided tidbits of information to make it better and attractive to potential employers.

This has been an incredible journey, and I feel more confident now looking for a job than I did six months ago. Taking courses, working with DVR (Department of Vocational Rehabilitation) and meeting with WorkSource staff prepared me for today’s job fair. I’ve attended other job fairs where there was no background on employers or expectations. For this job fair, WorkSource has provided lots of information and I feel very confident from the start.

Today, I visited with employers face to face, one on one, and provided my resume. Hopefully, I’ll hear something from them. This reverse job fair* is great because employers are looking for my specific skills and abilities. Most job fairs are one big fish bowl of information that is hard navigate. This is such a wonderful opportunity.

*Editor’s note: A reverse job fair is when job seekers greet and talk with roaming employers, rather than the other way around. Sometimes, job seekers actually have a booth with displays of information about their skills, achievements and certifications.

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.

Advertisements

#Power of a Job – Homeless veteran’s aerospace career starts after visit to WorkSource

Happy Workforce Wednesday — when we tell Power of a Job success stories from across the state.

This week we spotlight the work of WorkSource Rainier in Seattle. Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER) David Madden takes time to sit down with a happy WorkSource customer, veteran job seeker David Evans. Evans tells the story of how WorkSource helped him leave a life of unemployment and homelessness and move into a solid job with a local aerospace company.

We hope you enjoy this week’s installment. Here is David’s story:

David Madden: Hi everyone, this is David Madden I’m sitting here with David Evans, a veteran who came through the WorkSource office, and we were able to assist him with a few things. So we’re just going to have a conversation and hope you enjoy. Alright, so David how did we meet?

David Madden: Hi everyone. I’m sitting here with David Evans, a veteran who came to WorkSource, and we were able to assist him with a few things. So we’re just going to have a conversation and hope you enjoy. So David, how did we meet?

David Evans: We met when I came to the WorkSource just looking for some help. I had been working for CenturyLink for about five years in-house and 10 years as a contractor. I had a kidney disease, and I found myself out of work because of my illness.

DM: So, at the time that you came in, you were homeless.

DE: Yes. That came along with being unemployed. I was transferred out here with my job, and then because my condition got worse, they said I was no longer able to perform my job. So here I found myself with no job, no family, no friends, in a strange place, and you were the one who was familiar and gave me help.

DM: Let’s track the housing piece. So, we connected you with housing resources, which got you out of the homeless situation to the place where we got you a bed. Now you’re at one of the veteran housing facilities, and through that, you are able to receive services from the [state Veterans Administration]. Tell me a little bit about that.

DE: Yes, I was able to connect with supportive services for veterans and their families. First it was King County. They were the first to step up, to answer the call to help veterans. They put me in The Salvation Army’s William Booth Center, and from there I went into transitional housing upstairs. It’s like a one-bedroom unit, and now I’m working on getting my own place through supportive services of veteran families, which I connected to earlier.

DM: So, talk about the tools and services WorkSource was able to provide.

DE: You were able to provide me with job resources. You were able to show me how to do a resume. I mean, after 15 years, I wasn’t really resume savvy, and it was really rough. You helped me to clean it up and also you gave me guidance on housing. You introduced me to Kevin over at Therapeutic Health Services, who allowed me to be an outpatient for my addictions to get that stuff straight. You told me I was putting the cart before the horse; I remember you saying that, and you were able to get me to slow down and get everything together.

DM: You came to see me and we talked, and you were working on getting employment, and getting everything re-situated here, and you ended up working for…

DE: Microsoft.

DM: Wow!

DE: Yeah. Working for Microsoft, and that was a dream. I never thought I would work for Microsoft! I thought that was beyond my reach. Actually, when I first got here [to the Seattle area], I was looking for employment, so I took an ad and went to Alaska to work in a fish factory. I was there for a week, and Microsoft interviewed me over the phone, hired me and flew me back to Seattle.

DM: Wow! And just recently, something happened at Microsoft?

DE: Yeah. Honeywell Aerospace Technology is on the Microsoft campus, right across the parking lot from the building where I worked. I was passing by and chatting with a gentleman. I didn’t know he was a recruiter for Honeywell, and he was saying that they were hiring. I told him, “I don’t know if I have the skills.” And he said, “Well, just send me your resume and let me see.” I sent my resume and a month later, I’m hired.

DM: Wow. So that changes your whole situation. Let’s say you were hired with the bonus, but don’t say how much!

DE: Yes, with a sign-on bonus and, you know, the sky’s the limit. Because of my experience in teaching (I was a training supervisor for the phone company in Chicago), they are already talking about management.

DM: Amazing. Well, this is what we like to hear. I really appreciate you, and I’m so happy that you accepted this invitation to sit down and talk with me. Because we want to encourage other veterans — our brothers and sisters in arms — that WorkSource is here and we’re going to help. You are definitely a success.

DE: If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t believe it. Like, “Yeah, all that doesn’t happen.” But you guys really made it happen. You worked hard, made the phone calls, saw the paperwork — you did everything you could to help me be successful. And I know you don’t just do that for me; you do it for everybody, and I see that.

DM: I appreciate that. David: You are a success, and I appreciate you, man.

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.

 

Customer graduates from college and starts new career at age 42

It’s Workforce Wednesday, when we tell Power of a Job success stories. This week, we bring you Carolyn Wiggen, who works for Employment Security — a partner in the WorkSource system.

I’m a web application developer at Employment Security. About four years ago, I found myself going through a divorce. I lost the business I was helping to run and build. I lost every financial source I had and I lost my home. I had two children to support and didn’t know what I was going to do.

I immediately got on every assistance program I could while looking for a job. I hadn’t had a job for years because all I was doing was working at our business. Without a job, I went, “Oh no! What am I going to do?”

While looking for a job, I was on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) because I had children and needed to get back to work. TANF told me I had to go to WorkSource. There, I met with a lovely woman while doing check-ins every day. It didn’t take me long to start looking at all the different programs and options available to me.

One of my girlfriends already had suggested going back to college. My previous career was just not going to sufficiently support me and two children. It just wasn’t going to do it. I knew I had to make a change.

One of the things available to me was college.  If I was enrolled, I’d still qualify for different assistance programs. Sounded good to me! I always had been drawn toward websites and design, but I didn’t have the knowledge and experience to get a job doing that. Computer programming was one of the qualifying programs, so I started my college career while still working with WorkSource to meet the requirements to stay on the program.

It was the best thing that could ever have happened to me. I graduated from college, which I had never done before. Forty-two years old and I graduated from college! That’s crazy! Who would have thought?

I ended up getting a job at Employment Security, where the WorkSource program is. I started as an [information technology specialist]1, and I just became an IT3. I couldn’t be happier!

It was a struggle. My kids were very patient, very understanding and supportive. I have an 18-year-old daughter, and while it was tough to go through all the things I did, I think it really set a great example for her. I see her starting college this year and it means just a little bit more because she got to see her mom go through the same thing. She knows the importance of bettering yourself and taking advantage of these wonderful programs out there. And she’ll know what it feels like to do something awesome and be able to say: “Hey, look! I did that!” I hope that someday my youngest daughter will be able to see the value in all of that, as well.

And if there’s anybody out there like me in a similar situation, I hope they can see the value in these programs and think: “I can do that, too. It’s achievable. I can do anything I set my mind to do! There’s this wonderful program out there that’s going to help me do it!”

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.