#PowerofaJob: Justice-involved job seeker reboots career through WorkSource

As partners in Washington state’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.

Every week, we spotlight a different Power of a Job success story. This week, we bring you Steven Buegler, a justice-involved job seeker from Longview. Steven utilized resources provided by WorkSource Cowlitz-Wahkiakum to re-launch his truck-driving career.

Take a few minutes to be inspired and watch Steven tell his re-employment journey!

My name is Steven Buegler, and I’ve been working with WorkSource for a little over a year now, maybe closer to a year and a half. I ended up in work release in Longview in January of 2017, and was required to come up here (WorkSource Cowlitz-Wahkiakum) on a daily basis to hunt for jobs.

I did a lot of time in prison, and am pretty computer illiterate, so it was a real challenge for me to learn what I could, but the people here at WorkSource were really, really helpful. Megan in particular. She would come in and show me how to do things on the computer.

As it worked out, I kind of went off on my own and rode my bicycle around, walked around Longview trying to interview for jobs, not online. But I still came up here every day and went on the various sites, and over a period of time I found a couple jobs, a fish-washing job and a production job at a fish plant down in Woodland. I worked at both of those for about 5 months each, but I was dissatisfied.

I came out of prison with very few marketable job-skills, so I ended up getting some low-paying jobs that had co-workers that I didn’t particularly get along with. I’m a fairly hard worker, so after a period of time I abandoned both of those jobs and pretty much quit working. I had some money I brought with me out of the joint, and some social security retirement benefits that kept me going.

I was a truck driver when I was on the street before, and somebody where I live told me that they received funding for CDL (Commercial Drivers License) class through WorkSource, so I came back up here and talked to Marie. She said “Yeah, I think we can help you!”

She introduced me to a couple other [WorkSource staff members], and I went through some workshops with Sarah. Laura Vickers took over my case and got me through the WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) program. She told me what I needed to do to qualify for funding.

So, I went through that, wrote my statements, was accepted into the program and funded for the CDL program at Lower Columbia Community College. I attended class for six or seven weeks and graduated. My prior experience as a truck driver helped me to get through that program fairly easily. I took my tests, achieved my CDL license, interviewed at a company that one of my instructors at Lower Columbia Community College worked for and hired.

I’ve been there for a couple of weeks now, doing on-the-job training (OJT) and today is my last day of OJT. Monday I will go out on my own. It seems like a nice company to work for and I am happy about the results. I am grateful to WorkSource for giving me this opportunity and optimistic about my future.

If you’re in the same boat, this would be the place to come If you’re looking for a serious opportunity. If you’re serious. Because it takes some work on your part too, it’s not just some giveaway.

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.

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