#Powerofajob: Truck driver finds road to a great new career

Happy Workforce Wednesday!

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.

Every week, we spotlight a different Power of a Job success story. This week, we bring you Shelby Meyenburg, an AmeriCorps technology and resource navigator at WorkSource Thurston. Here Shelby shares how he and the WorkSource team helped an unemployed truck driver on the road to a great new job!

My client is a skilled truck driver in search of a new job. While he had all the skills and abilities to be a truck driver, he told me he really wanted a job where he could spend more time with his wife and grandchild.

So we took a look at other job types, and he saw a position at the mattress company where his daughter works. He expressed interest in a sales representative position there. As he talked about it more, he got kind of a twinkle in his eye, so I persuaded him to apply and see where it would take him.

The WorkSource team worked to get his resume ready, practiced with mock-interviews and prepped him until he was ready to go.

We didn’t hear from him for a couple of weeks. Then one day, I came back from lunch and saw him in the main lobby of WorkSource. I asked how he was doing and if he worked for the mattress company.

Come to find out, he’s more than working; he’s successful! The mattress company had recently had a big sale, and he was the number-one salesperson! I’m impressed, but more importantly, his employer is really impressed. Everything looks really good for him.

I love my role as a technology navigator with AmeriCorps! I answer all kinds of questions from how to attach resumes to emails to how to use the computer to land a dream job. This is just a small example of what WorkSource offers to anyone who comes in the door—whether you’re unemployed or looking to start a new career.

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#Powerofajob: Customer gets thousands in back benefits

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 Betty Jenne, a WorkSource specialist at WorkSource Kittitas County in Ellensburg.

Here is Betty’s story:

I have a rather unique story I want to share about a customer named Gene. Gene is an adult with disabilities who worked for 14 years at a fast food restaurant in Ellensburg. The employer decided to close and sold the business to a pizza shop. Gene was hired at the pizza shop, but while they were remodeling, he was unemployed, so I started his unemployment. Then he started going to work.

As he worked at the pizza place, he was working with pizza dough and it didn’t seem to be working out so well. So, he came back to me to see if he could get unemployment, and I was trying to help him. I sent him information and he always diligently brought me all of his paperwork.

When I went to restart his unemployment, I realized that his paperwork had not gotten all the way processed, so we restarted it and processed his paperwork. I reported the incident to my supervisor to let him know that the paperwork was quite massive due to Gene’s transition. We ended up with 42 pages of back claims to be processed. Gene was very diligent with everything. He brought me all of his paystubs. I imported everything for him and he ended up getting over $2,000 in back benefits.

I was so proud of Employment Security for looking at his case and helping him with it, because he really, really needed the money. His brother was supporting him.

Gene needed more help, so we sent him to Washington’s Department of Vocational Resources and to Central Washington Disability Resources. And we also introduced him to Elmview [an organization which ensures that people with disabilities remain in their communities and live full and productive lives].

Gene finally ended up with a great job coach named Elizabeth Sessions who works at Central Washington Disability Resources. She is helping Gene connect with a job. We’re also trying to get him connected with Social Security disability since Gene is 60 years old.

I would encourage everybody to come into WorkSource and check out all the opportunities we have here. We have all kinds of employment classes and we also can help one-on-one.

Note: Unemployment insurance claimants always should contact the Unemployment Claims Center online or at 800-318-6022 for help with their claims. Betty helped Gene at WorkSource because WorkSource policy allows customers with special needs to use WorkSource for help with their unemployment claims.

WorkSource offices and the Unemployment Claims Center have auxiliary aids and services available upon request to people with disabilities. Auxiliary aids may include telecommunication devices such as Washington Relay Service 711 for hearing- or speech-impaired individuals.

#Powerofajob: Single dad finds a job that accomodates his schedule and supports his family

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 Debi Keyzer of WorkSource Central Basin in Moses Lake. Debi is a job coach in the WorkFirst program, which helps low-income parents who receive cash assistance (known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF) to prepare for and go to work.

Here is Debi’s story:

“Josh” has been a WorkFirst client of mine several times. He has a tendency to take jobs and not keep them. And he keeps coming back to WorkSource.

One day Josh came in, and a local employer who comes into our office frequently happened to be there. This employer provides services to a big business in Moses Lake.

I talked to Josh about working there. He can’t work nights and weekends because of being a single dad. This place only works Monday through Thursday — four ten-hour days with weekends off. The pay was wonderful, and the more I talked to Josh, the more interested he became.

So, I took him over to meet with the employer. Then he had a second interview the next day with the corporate recruiter on military base in Moses Lake and was hired on the spot, starting at $15.77 per hour! The last job he had, he was making about $10 per hour. He was so happy, he came in saying how thankful he was that he got that job and how much he enjoys working there.

When I met with Josh previously, I always helped him with his resume and showed him how to interview. He had attended our Job Hunter course series in our office. He learned how to really look for a job, apply and how to make a resume look good.

We offer a variety of services that were very beneficial to him. We also have supportive service dollars in the WorkFirst program, and I was able to help him buy steel-toed boots. They’re very spendy but required by the employer. Josh didn’t have the money, so we helped him with that and with money for work clothes gas to make sure he could get to his job.

We offer a lot of other services at WorkSource. It doesn’t matter who you are; we’re there to help you. We provide lots of services to help you to get back to work in the community.

#PowerofaJob: “Take a look at this guy!”

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 Courtney Williams, a supervisor at WorkSource Thurston County. Courtney also teaches the extremely popular Strategies for Success course. Customers routinely find inspiration and change their lives after taking this six-week course offered at WorkSource centers around the state.

Here is Courtney’s story:

I had the honor of being part of a success story when I was a Strategies for Success [a life-skills course offered at WorkSource offices around the state] instructor. A 42-year-old gentleman came in and was completely deflated. He had no confidence and a complete loss of dignity.

He had a lot of situations going on: the health of his children, his own health, no transportation. He just had a lot of challenges and barriers. Slowly, he and I worked together at getting off the fence and decide what he wanted to do, because that was really the problem: He didn’t know what he wanted to do.

So, at the end of the six modules of Strategies for Success, I asked him what he wanted to do and what he was going to do to get there. He wrote me a wonderful letter outlining exactly what he was going to do to ensure he gets gainful employment. Essentially, he redefined being proactive – something he just forgot and something that I helped to restore in him.

I recalled him meeting an employer and really making a connection, so I sent the letter he wrote to the employer and said, “Take a look at this guy.” Previously, she had some reservations about him. But when she saw that letter, she was so impressed, she offered him a full-time position.

His demeanor was usually flat, but he came into WorkSource and celebrated! He shouted that he got the job! His former case managers recognized that he had completely changed. They were so happy because they had been working with him for over two years. He finally recognized his worth, and that was really the best part of that situation.

Now, he continues to come in, not because he’s looking for work — because he’s successful there — but just to tell me how great he’s doing. He also brings in his family and his family tells me how great they’re doing.

That’s really what WorkSource does. We’re very holistic. When you come into WorkSource — no matter where you are in the state (but particularly WorkSource Thurston because we have a great team here!) — we look at the individual. You’re not just a number.

When you get to your career trajectory or your school trajectory, we want to hear from you after that. We want to make sure you’re still within our radar. We really want to see you be successful, no matter the stage of your life.

So, if you know of anyone who needs a job or needs help with their resume, an informational interview or if they have a position and want a promotion, we can work with them. We have the skills. My staff are experts in what they do and they can treat you with complete dignity and help remind you that you’re worthy. So come in to WorkSource! We can help you out.

#Powerofajob: Client aims for her north star — and grabs it!

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 Jessica Figueroa, an employment specialist at WorkSource Lynnwood. Here, Jessica shares how the right career counseling can help people nab their dream job.

I’m Jessica Figueroa, a WIOA [the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act, passed by Congress in 2015] and career specialist at WorkSource Lynnwood. I’m going to share the story of a client who we enrolled in a WIOA program.

My client was laid off and was actively searching for work for more than a month before visiting our WorkSource center. Immediately, she and I met and discussed her career goals. She’s a single mother of two and because of that, doesn’t want to work in the healthcare field any more.

Her dream is to find a career to help families. Since she didn’t grow up in the United States education system, she needed a skills upgrade.

We created a career plan for her and it included pursuing an associate degree in family support services at Edmonds Community College. During these two years of school, I continued to work with her to find financial support and career guidance.

Once her degree was complete, we continued to meet and I helped with additional support services. After a few months, she landed a part-time position at Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest.

Her employment goal from our first meeting was to help families and children achieve success. Now, she works exactly where she wanted to be and doing exactly what she wanted to do.

Soon after starting, her part-time position became permanent and full-time, and she’s very happy with that.