#Powerofajob: Agency staff give voice to their customers’ pain and joy

poaj-blogsocial-image

By Employment Security Department
Commissioner Suzi LeVine

True job-search success stories about real Washingtonians are as numerous as the leaves on a 100-year-old tree in summer. To be exact, the number of WorkSource customers who found jobs in 12 months from late 2016 to early 2017 (our most recent data) is 139,212.

But those thousands of stories don’t just drift lazily down and into the lap of this blog. We rely on our employees to share their customers’ successes, and then we relay those Power of a Job stories to you: our readers.

To keep those stories coming every week, sometimes we need to go shake the trees and remind our staff to send more. So last fall, I decided to provide a little incentive. I asked my staff for submissions and we randomly selected five stories to feature as the winners! Today, I’m pleased to announce those winning stories. Three of them already have been published here:

The other two winning stories haven’t been published yet, but I’ll give you a preview.

A second employee from WorkSource Spokane tells the story of a homeless man struggling with alcoholism and a felony history. He took some pre-employment classes at WorkSource, worked with community partners to find housing and help for his addiction, then came back to WorkSource for help finding a job. He did, and returned to WorkSource Spokane later just to tell everyone how well he’s doing!

The final story comes from an employee of WorkSource Colville, who worked with a woman who had served time in a California prison for cutting off the fingers of a man who had sexually abused one of her relatives. This woman served her time and was a model prisoner. After release, she struggled for years to reintegrate into society. She finally found not only support and compassion at WorkSource Colville, but also quality job referrals. As of today, she’s working and already has received a promotion!

I’m so proud to lead the Employment Security Department, where stand-out employees transform people’s lives every day through the power of a job and the safety net of unemployment benefits.

Thanks to them, you get to hear these stories. All you need to do is follow this blog or find us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn: #powerofajob!

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

Washington extends unemployment safety net to federal workers working full- or part-time without pay

Governor Jay Inslee and Commissioner Suzi LeVine today announced an emergency rule allowing federal workers working without pay to receive unemployment benefits.

Workers can learn how to apply here: https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment-benefits-related-to-partial-federal-shutdown#NEW

The Employment Security Department has posted data about the estimated number of workers impacted by county, including estimates of lost wages by week.

The agency also has data from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies showing the estimated number of employees by affected federal agency in Washington.

Watch the media availability.img_e4103[1]

#PowerofaJob: WorkSource helps jobseeker “perfect” her resume and interview skills

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

This week, we bring you Tricia Kimball, who learned that WorkSource is all about re-employment when she lost her long-term job, and WorkSource Kitsap actively helped her with updated interview skills and re-training assistance.

My name is Tricia Kimball and I lost my job after 10 years. Not knowing what to do, I went to the “unemployment office” to apply for unemployment benefits. When I got there I realized that there was no longer an unemployment office – everything was online. So I applied for unemployment and I started looking into the classes that WorkSource offered to help me get re-employed.

When I went to the first class learning how to fill out an application, I was the only one there. It was right before Christmas and it ended up to be a chitchat session. The lady said to me “would you ever think about going back to school?” I said “well, don’t even say that unless you’re serious, because I would love to go back to school and finish what I started 10 years ago.” I had gone to school but had to quit, because I had to go to work.

She sent me to see Christopher Nelson at Olympic College and he was doing a seminar on something that had nothing to do with me, but I sat through two of his sessions and then he took me to his office and we talked. He enrolled me into the worker-retraining program. When I left his office, I was enrolled in school, books and tuition paid for and I started on Monday.

I continued through school and he then referred me to Russ at WorkSource. I worked with Russ and he suggested that I go see Lenny. I worked with Lenny all through school – he helped me pay for books he helped me pay for tuition. When I graduated, I looked into the other classes that WorkSource offers. I went to another interview class, I went to the USAJOBS, I did some mock interviews, I took the interview class and all these things have helped me polish myself for looking for a job.

I wasn’t really sure how to do my resume anymore, because they don’t do them like they did when I first went to school, so I was connected with Lawanda and she sat with me and we went through my resume. She helped me change it and tweak it to what it should be. When I went home, I fixed it the way she explained, and then, through email and phone calls, we were able to get my resume perfect. Then when it came time to do the USAJOBS, I got help there from Rudy, he helped me with that one and he also put a few applications in for me through his office.

So, without WorkSource, I would not be here today. I was honored to be invited in the first place and then to see all these employers support people who have disabilities. I don’t consider myself to be disabled as most people think I am, but they only see that – they don’t see what’s inside. So if you need help looking for a job you need to go to WorkSource.

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.

 

#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.

#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.