Teamwork: Three WorkSource staff connect a veteran to housing, food and finally – a job

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

This week, three WorkSource staff demonstrate the value of collaboration. WorkSource is a partnership of state, local and non-profit agencies that work together — often in the same buildings — to deliver employment and training services to Washington businesses and job seekers. Debi Keyser, Jarred Rendon and Luis Torres all work at WorkSource Central Basin in Moses Lake. They relied on each other to help a customer find temporary housing and food for his family. They then assessed his skills and connected him to a great job.

In this story, but not in all, the customer is a military veteran. WorkSource places about 10,000 veterans into jobs each year.

Debi: Hi, I’m Debi Keyser with WorkSource Central Basin here in Moses Lake, Washington. I’m a WorkFirst [Washington’s temporary cash assistance program] job coach.

Jarred: Hello, my name is Jarred Rendon. I’m a case manager for Support & Services for Veterans and Families (SSVF) at HopeSource, working in Grant and Adams counties.

Luis: Hi, my name is Luis Torres. I’m a veterans employment representative for WorkSource Central Basin. Today, for Power of a Job, we’d like to feature a veteran family we supported here at WorkSource.

One of the great things about this story is that involved multiple case managers working on behalf of this family. It showcases one of many successes that happen throughout our state. Hundreds of people come through our office doors needing assistance, and we provide that assistance. Most of these stories go untold, but here is one of them. Jared will kick off the story.

Jarred: The veteran family contacted me looking for services. The first thing we did was to identify barriers they had. The first barrier identified was transportation. Their vehicle was in need of some repairs and the tires were worn. The SSVF program was able to provide funds to get their vehicle repaired.

We also identified that they were homeless, living in their car with an infant. We connected them with a community partner: the Housing Authority of Grant County, which immediately provided transitional housing. The family was without income, so we connected them with WorkSource for employment services.

Luis: That’s how I met the family. I contacted them to set up an appointment. The father came in, and one of the first things we did was create a resume. We made sure we highlighted all his skills and abilities; we included all the things he learned in the military that translate to civilian job skills.

We created a WorkSourceWA.com account and uploaded his resume so that he could immediately start looking for jobs. One of the other great things WorkSource does is connect customers with a network of employers. We started sending off his resume (with his consent) to try to get him interviews. He had many gaps in his job history, so having a good solid resume was crucial. We referred him to WorkFirst.

Debi: The father was referred to me through the Department of Social & Health Services. I was working with him in the lobby of the Central Basin WorkSource center, when an employer walked in looking for somebody to install windows — a glazier position. I introduced the customer to the employer, who set up an interview. He was hired on the spot and started the next day. I was able to help him get gas for his vehicle and clothes for the job.

As Luis was saying, at WorkSource we offer a variety of services. All three of us worked with one individual and helped him to be a successful employee. He’s doing really well.

Jarred:  The client came in homeless, with many barriers to employment, and with our assistance started his job making $15 an hour and he’s now making over $20 an hour. So he’s providing for himself, his family and contributing to the community.  He is very, very happy.

Luis: That’s what we do at WorkSource! You have a whole team that works for you, making sure we do everything we can to help you be successful. WorkSource does work!

 Debi: Yes, it does!

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 are Powered by Jobs.

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#Powerofajob: WorkSource helps a veteran start a great manufacturing career

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

This week Torry, a veteran and a rising star for his employer, tells us about his new job in aerospace manufacturing. He took advantage of the resources available at WorkSource Everett and used WorkSourceWA.com to connect to a great career!

Here is Torry’s story:

I am Rich Ferguson, supervisor of the components department at ATS (Aerospace Technical Services), in Everett. I oversee seven different shops and seven different leads report to me on our activities. Recently our recruiting department found Torry Confer for our electrical shop, through WorkSource Everett.

Torry: I decided to get out of the military after six years of service and tried college for the first time in my life. One of the things I realized going to school – it was not for me.

Someone I met said I should try WorkSource Everett. I visited the center where they helped me improve my resume, improve my interview skills and get training. On their website [WorkSourceWA.com], there were lots of job openings listed, including the manufacturing company ATS. [I was interested, so] the WorkSource center reached out to them for me and said they were interested in setting up an interview.

Rich: He [Torry] interviewed extremely well, presented himself very nicely, was knowledgeable and well spoken.

Torry: At the interview, I told them about my prior military experience with aviation and electronics troubleshooting.

Rich: The interview went really well. They offered him a position and within a couple weeks, he was in orientation to start work. Once he got into the shop, I was so relieved because it is hard to find people who have a zest for getting things done. Staff have to consume tons of technical data and because he is a very smart person, he picked it up quickly. Now he has fast tracked himself on our progress-scale at an accelerated rate. This is wonderful because maybe 25 percent of folks have that ability and even less have that inspiration to go out of the box and go beyond. Torry has been a great addition to our electrical shop and I see him accelerating into leadership in the coming years.

Torry: I highly recommend going to your local WorkSource office, where they can help with your resume (just as they did with me), and get a job that you can use.

Rich: Get with WorkSource and they will get with companies like ATS to find you a place where you can have long-term employment, and even seniority, which is a great thing to have in a company. I highly recommend that for anyone who is looking for a new job or a career path.

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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#Poweredbyjobs: Think mechatronics for Careers in Manufacturing Month

As we celebrate careers in manufacturing month, our Powered by Jobs post this week comes from Mary Kaye Bredeson, executive director at the Center for Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing in Everett.

She addresses all of the great events happening around Washington this month in manufacturing, the reasons people should look into the industry as a career choice, and what the future has in store for the industry.

Here’s Mary Kaye:

Hello. We are one of 10 centers of excellence here in Washington state that are funded by our State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. We are so excited to be celebrating careers in manufacturing this month!

A lot is going on. Manufacturing day was Oct. 4 and 7. Many of our community colleges are offering tours to young high school students, and even middle school students, so they can see all the opportunities in advanced manufacturing, especially here in Washington state: home of Boeing. We have a lot of great jobs in aerospace.

If you’d like to visit our website, coewa.com, you’ll see lots of examples and testimonials from successful students who have gone through our programs.

Of the 34 community technical colleges, about 26 offer some type of aerospace, aviation or advanced manufacturing that supports careers or training in Washington. Right now, you’ll see that we’re focusing on mechatronics [a field of engineering that includes mechanical and computer engineering, robotics, electronics, telecommunications and more]. We’ve met with Amazon, Boeing, food and fruit processing companies, and logistics. You can start a great career if you take a two-year mechatronic program at one of the 12 community colleges currently offering it.

Many careers in mechatronics are available in aerospace. If you were to tour the Boeing triple seven x-wing box facility just down the street from us, you’ll recognize that Boeing is now using an automated system — huge machines that need industrial machine maintenance. This is what we’re preparing students for. If you go through our training programs and complete a degree in mechatronics, you will be highly sought after.

The industry is paying starting wages anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000, depending on experience. Many companies are offering paid internships and looking for individuals with this type of training.

Also, we have a pilot shortage. We’re trying to entice young people to become pilots. We also need maintenance repair people — MROs: maintenance repair operations. We’re located at Everett Community College. Great opportunities!

I can’t stress how important it is for us to start enticing young people into careers in automated systems, avionics and robotics. This is the wave of the future. In fact, you’ve probably heard it referred to as Industry 4.0. Our manufacturing companies are becoming smarter and more automated by using robotics. We need young people to maintain those automated machines and think of careers in advanced manufacturing.

As we continue to celebrate careers in manufacturing, I would encourage you to visit WAManufacturingCareers.com.

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 are Powered by Jobs.

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#PowerOfAJob: The power of a manufacturing job – a career path for Builders, Dreamers and Makers

Happy Workforce Wednesday! Currently, more than 282,000 workers feel the Power of a Job in Washington’s manufacturing industry, and their average wages are 30 percent higher than the average wage in other sectors. Because manufacturing is a cornerstone of Washington state’s economy, we are celebrating Careers in Manufacturing Month for Workforce Wednesday today.

We’re happy to introduce Kris Johnson, chief executive officer for the Association of Washington Business, and supporter of the manufacturing industry and WAManufacturingCareers.com.

Hello. I’m Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest association and the state’s designated manufacturing association.

Manufacturing is a cornerstone of the state’s economy, from building the best airplanes in the world to creating the finest music stands that are shipped around the globe. With manufacturers operating in every county in the state, this important sector represents nearly 9 percent of Washington’s employment and generates more than $58 billion for the state’s economy.

In fact, more than 282,000 hard-working Washingtonians, men and women in every county, work in this important sector, with an average wage of more than $72,000 a year. That’s a 30 percent higher rate than the average wage in other sectors. And manufacturing has one of the highest percentages of workers, 92 percent, who are eligible for employer healthcare benefits.

In addition to the technology sector, today’s manufacturing sector is dynamic, robust and high-tech. In fact, the manufacturing sector performs more than three-quarters of all private sector research and development in the nation, driving innovation across the industry and opening up new job opportunities with endless career possibilities. Many of our state’s manufacturers offer on-the-job training and most only require a trade certificate or a two-year degree – a good fit for students looking to move straight from high school to the workforce. And many of the employers in the sector actively support employees in their endeavors to advance their careers within the workplace through work-based training or continuing education.

Manufacturing careers offer workers the opportunity to make great things – products that address an unmet need or improve upon the technology of the past. The power of a manufacturing job is that it truly is a career path for builders, for dreamers and for makers.

To learn more about manufacturing careers, find available jobs and to post a resume, visit WAManufacturingCareers.com.

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 are Powered by Jobs.

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#Powerofajob: Customer’s obstacles don’t stop WorkSource from doing what it does best

Happy Workforce Wednesday! October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. In partnership with the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues & Employment (GCDE), we’re proud to help raise awareness about employment issues experienced by people with disabilities.

In this week’s Power of a Job post, Susan Milke of WorkSource Vancouver talks about Nicole, a job seeker who has a disability. WorkSource connected her to needed benefits and job leads. Nicole expertly took it from there, leaving every one — Nicole, her new employer and WorkSource staff — with a smile.  

Here is Susan’s story about Nicole.

Nicole had worked with us in the past, and then we did not see her for quite a while because she had a job. Well, she lost her job, not through any fault of her own; the job was eliminated. So she started coming back here again, which was really exciting to us because we knew her and we were so pleased that she felt comfortable to come back.

Nicole did have some barriers: she needed to use a walker. But she came in every day, got herself in here and made full use of our resources. She attended some of the Strategies for Success [life-skills course] modules; she hooked up with the Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET) program, using resources such as fuel cards and that type of thing.

She attended many of our workshops, and as you know, all of our services are free. She hooked up with resource room staff and employment specialists for job leads, doing her job search, and helping her apply for jobs online. She had great computer skills, but if you ever have applied online, you know sometimes those applications are arduous.

As we got to know her, we knew what type of positions she was looking for; she wanted an administrative or receptionist position. We had an upcoming hiring event and a specific employer was going to be there. We knew we had a perfect job for her.

We encouraged her to come to that event, and she did. We told the employer about her because he had made it very clear he was open to working with people with disabilities. Nicole met him, he arranged an interview and she got the job!

We were excited because she shared with us that the employer worked around her schedule. She has a young son, and she was able to get her son to school and daycare and still make it to work on time.

A couple weeks ago, I stopped by and was so excited and delighted to see that Nicole was employee of the month in June. Her picture was up, and the employer brought her out just to say hi. She shared with me — the employer did not tell me this — that the employer had installed an ADA-approved door-opening device so she could navigate the building. [ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act.]

It was just a really happy outcome, and we want to encourage all of you, whether you’re looking for a job or exploring careers: Come in! We want to talk with you!

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 are Powered by Jobs.

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