Power of a Job: WorkSource Vancouver helps job seeker mend her “broken spirit”

Happy Workforce Wednesday!

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 Debbie Smith, a job seeker with a broken spirit who got back on track at WorkSource Vancouver in Strategies for Success: a life-skills class series.

Here’s Debbie’s story:

I’m 61 years old and got fired from my job in September 2017. I was completely broken and didn’t know what to do with myself. I had never been let go from a job, fired or used unemployment benefits. I was in bad shape emotionally.

I signed up for unemployment benefits and learned about WorkSource. I met Charles at WorkSource Vancouver who helped me do a reality check. Once I realized I had lots of options, I calmed down and knew it going to be OK.

I was enrolled in a six-week Strategies for Success course at WorkSource. I learned about interviewing, how to create a resume and the proper way to fill out an application.

Afterward, I attended a Clark College class. The instructor encouraged me to return to school and look at different career options. I’d been a product manager and really didn’t want to do that again. She signed me up for an AutoCAD [computer-aided design and drafting software] class and a career exploration class.

My first semester ended with six credits and A’s in both classes. In January, I started as a full-time student to earn an associate degree in marketing. I’m working to get my unemployment benefits extended.

I have nothing but the highest praise for WorkSource. I tell everyone what they do for people who are dislocated or unemployed. I’m even encouraging my daughter, who is 19, to take the Strategies for Success series.

I’m so enthused by the things I learned in just six weeks. I’m ready to go out and conquer the world and start the next chapter of life!

Advertisements

Power of a Job: Disabled veteran discovers new, fulfilling direction at WorkSource

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’re Powered by Jobs.

This week’s Power of a Job story is about James Thomas, a customer of WorkSource Cowlitz-Wahkiakum. He suffered a head injury and couldn’t return to his usual line of work. WorkSource helped him re-imagine his life and take those first exciting steps down a brand new career path.

Four years ago, I had a work-related injury. I broke my skull while working in Redding, Calif. I had to figure out how to come out of it and get back into the workforce.

One of my problems was headaches, so I moved to Washington, where the weather is much better and I could handle my pain. Then, I had to focus on my cognitive skills, and I got involved with WorkSource. As a part of my TANF [Temporary Assistance to Needy Families] benefits, I had to show I was working toward my goals.

WorkSource gave me the tools to get back into the workforce. It helped me find what I wanted to do because I couldn’t go into contracting anymore. I didn’t feel that was possible with my pain levels.

WorkSource steered me toward the medical field and toward helping those with problems with head injuries. I have a heart for that.

WorkSource helped me switch over my California driver’s license and vehicle registration to Washington, and even helped me fix my vehicle. I needed it to attend classes, so they jumped on that. “We have a program for that,” they said.

They’ve been phenomenal. I’m a disabled veteran, so I get veterans services. I have a general worker here [at WorkSource Cowlitz-Wahkiakum] named Esther [Sadlier] and she’s in touch with Tammi [Leclerc], my Strategies for Success instructor. Amazing team. All they’re interested in is helping you and giving you the tools to go further.

And now, because of them, I’m getting in a program called Title I that is going to pay for my [certified nursing assistant degree] and eventually my [physician assistant degree] so I can help people with dementia and problems with cognitive rehabilitation.

I couldn’t be happier with WorkSource.

#Power of a Job: Student of life-skills class transforms herself, lands a job interview

Happy Workforce Wednesday!

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 a story from WorkSource Columbia Basin in Kennewick. Our Strategies for Success instructor, Olivia Mendoza, shares how a reluctant student became a big champion of the life-skills program and landed a job interview.

My name is Olivia Mendoza and I’m a Strategies for Success instructor at WorkSource Columbia Basin in Kennewick. I want to share a story about one of my students.

When she came to class the first time, I could tell she was very nervous. Her anxiety level was really high. She was uncomfortable just being around other students.

She was a Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS) client, and DSHS had sanctioned* her, requiring her to attend four weeks of class to have the sanction removed. As an instructor, that’s a very difficult situation. Because she had never worked and never participated in the class, DSHS had basically punished her and said “You are going to participate.”

But soon things changed. She had perfect attendance and her confidence grew. She started feeling comfortable and sharing more. At the end of four weeks, she felt the class was really valuable. So she asked DSHS for permission to attend the additional two weeks of classes that were not required.

Now, she came to class full of energy and excitement. She told us about practicing her new skills with family at home. She even handed out flyers to people outside the WorkSource office, encouraging them to take the class.

Yesterday, I received a text from her saying that she had her first job interview. It’s pretty exciting to see her growth and to think back about where she came from.

*DSHS clients can be sanctioned for failing to complete WorkFirst (Washington’s welfare to work program) activities without a good reason. 

2017 Olympia Economic Symposium: Technology and the Future of Work

2017 Olympia Economic Symposium; Technology and the Future of Work

In today’s labor market, data is more important than ever. Join the Washington State Employment Security Department at the 2017 Olympia Economic Symposium on Oct. 20 to learn about the state of Washington’s labor market and more!

Our regional labor market economists will present an expanded view on the “state of the state” for eastern and western Washington and highlight. We’ll also present new features and visualization tools on Employment Security’s labor market information website.

For speaker information and agenda, check out the event brochure.

The event starts at 1 pm and will be held at the Department of Labor & Industries, 7273 Linderson Way SW, Tumwater, Washington 98501.

Register online by noon Oct. 20 to reserve your seat. Registration is free, but seating is limited.

For more information, go to www.esd.wa.gov/labormarketinfo/presentations or call 360-407-4638.

Tri-Cities economy shows stability, growth and expansion

By Ajsa Suljic, Regional Labor Economist
Tel: 509-734-5928 or email: asuljic@esd.wa.gov