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!

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#PoweredByJobs: WorkSource helps Comcast hire thousands of veterans and spouses

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. We also work with businesses to help them find employees because we know they’re Powered by Jobs.

This week we’re sharing a Powered by Jobs story featuring Mark Brown from the Comcast Service Center in Lynnwood. The Employment Security Department honored Comcast with the coveted Hire-a-Vet Award in 2017 for its support of the YesVets hiring program. Comcast used WorkSourceWA.com to promote job openings and attended numerous veteran-focused hiring events in Snohomish County in 2017. As a result, the company’s Washington Recruiting Region was named No. 1 in the nation with Comcast.

I’m Mark Brown, director of talent for Comcast here in Washington. In 2015, Comcast made a commitment to hire 10,000 military veterans and spouses by March of 2018 and we’re almost there.

By mid-January 2018, Comcast had hired more than 9,500 military veterans and family members. Because WorkSource is committed to getting veterans and spouses hired, they’re a key partner to helping accomplish this goal. We use them to:

  • Provide important labor market data to find specific candidate populations
  • Perform training for candidates who need it
  • Use their deep connections with local, state and nonprofit organizations to aggregate our recruiting efforts.

Also, because of our partnership, we know where and when the best job fairs are happening and which candidates we should be talking to.

If you don’t use the WorkSource business services team as part of your talent acquisition strategy, I’d encourage you to take a look at it. The strategy has definitely helped us achieve our goals and we’re looking forward to the partnership as we go forward.

#PowerofaJob: WorkSource helps experienced engineer land aerospace job

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. 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 features Manu Morgan of WorkSource Lynnwood. She helped “Senae,” a highly skilled aerospace engineer. Manu helped Senae realize that her experience wasn’t enough; her resume, cover letter and interviewing skills needed work. They worked together and the result: a job!

“Sanae” visited the WorkSource Lynnwood office in October 2016. She had been laid off from an aerospace company and was struggling to find work. Sanae’s work history in aerospace was extensive and she had a passion for her field of structural analysis engineering. In her cover letter, she mentioned that, as a little girl, she always wanted to go to the moon.

Sanae was 46 at the time, and she’s a Japanese-American. She shared that she would have to move back to Japan and live with her parents if she continued to be unsuccessful finding work as a prototype flight tester.

We reviewed her resume several times and offered help with editing and formatting. I also helped her with her cover letter and suggested that she attend workshops to build her confidence. She attended many, but the ones she enjoyed the most were ones that included resume and cover letter writing, and mock interviewing. Sanae also regularly participated in our professional networking group.

The mock interviews greatly increased Sanae’s confidence in communicating her skills and abilities. She began applying for work in California and was interviewed twice for a company there. The employer even flew her out to see the company’s prototype aircraft.

Sanae then received an offer from a company in Washington state and accepted the job, earning $147 an hour. She was just beaming when she came in to tell us. Sanae shared how happy she is to be able to stay in the U.S. and that WorkSource helped her to secure work in a field she loves.

WorkSource eases a disabled veteran’s transition to civilian work

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. 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 features Matt Hoerner — a disabled veteran who overcomes his struggle to make the transition to civilian life.

After 22 years in the military, Matt Hoerner held five different white-collar civilian jobs in his first two years after service. Leaving the culture of the military for private sector office jobs proved too difficult a transition for him.

He needed a change in approach. Being 90 percent disabled, Matt decided to apply for vocational rehabilitation through the Department of Social and Health Services. That’s where he met Tiffany Plous of WorkSource Vancouver and that’s when his career path took a turn for the better.

Tiffany is a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program representative. With 14 years of service in the U.S. Army, she understood Matt’s struggles.

From the beginning, Tiffany set up Matt for success. She made sure he checked in every week. If he didn’t, she contacted him. Their connection encouraged him, and her mentorship made the difference, he said.

She removed obstacles for him — tangible and not — such as discussing and mitigating his distrust of civilian employers and even buying appropriate clothes. He owned only the suits and ties needed for his previous jobs, not the boots and sweatshirts he needed for his new career path.

“I’m a better person because of this experience and am thankful this program exists,” Matt said, “I don’t think I could have been remotely as successful as I am without [Tiffany].”

Matt started work with a reputable construction company even before his training ended. He enjoys his job and is excited to continue in the industry.

#PowerofaJob: Focusing on what she can control helps student land a job

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 Kate Greene of WorkSource Thurston County. This instructor of Strategies for Success — a life-skills class at WorkSource — shares how she helped Jesse, a homeless mom. Kate helped Jesse move her attention away from circumstances beyond her control and focus instead on changing what she could control. The result: three interviews and a job offer!

Jesse was a Strategies for Success participant who I spent about three weeks with, off and on.

She was homeless and had been bouncing around, living at different times with her mother, sister or father. No situation was working out. She also had a four-year-old son. She was in and out of sanction* and, at one point during the class, was hospitalized. She was just struggling to figure out how to become independent and successful with her employment and as a mother.

So we worked a lot together on her roadmap to success, which is probably my favorite tool in our program. It’s basically a picture of where you are now and where you want to be. It was a great visual for her to keep adding to and working on.

But a lot of the work with her was getting her focus away from her external conditions and situations, which ultimately we can’t control. I watched her come into every class with a lot of scattered energy, responding to the chaos in her life and finger pointing to these situations being the cause of where she found herself.

Then I watched her hone in and learn what she can control. I watched her listening intently, taking it all in and continuing to design her plan. So, over the course of my short time with her, she had three job interviews and is now currently employed with Lucky Eagle Casino.

*Department of Social & Health Services clients can be sanctioned for failing to complete WorkFirst (Washington’s welfare to work program) activities without a good reason.