#Power of a job: Homeless veteran discovers WorkSource isn’t only about finding 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 Seth Maier, who helps connect veterans to jobs, training and other services at WorkSource Spokane.

For veterans or anyone, WorkSource Spokane isn’t only about finding a job, Seth says. Through his story about helping one homeless veteran, Seth shows how WorkSource can help people overcome barriers preventing them from achieving what they want in life.

Here is Seth’s story.
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I want to share a story today about a homeless female veteran who I worked with recently. She moved from the East coast to the Spokane region due to health conditions. She was homeless for about three years and had gotten herself to Spokane hitching rides. It wasn’t a very safe situation.

She had experienced a lot of trauma in her life – both during and after the military. By the time she got to me, she had a lot of trust issues. It took us a few meetings for me to get a clear understanding of what she needed.

She really wasn’t employable when we first started because of her issues, but she had connected with the Veterans Administration (VA) while on the East Coast. Unfortunately, she had kind of given up on the system because there’s a lot of roadblocks and barriers working with the VA, and she’d lost trust. Unbeknownst to her, the system was working for her, but because of her homelessness, the VA couldn’t contact her.

The VA did award her a pension, and though she didn’t have a bank account for the VA to deposit it, the money accumulated. When we reconnected her with the VA system, I got her to trust in it again, and the VA was able to find her and award her the funds.

The money immediately got her out of her homeless situation. She’s in a better spot now and she’s getting access to care through the VA system. She may even find herself employment-ready in the future. For right now, she’s connected to services that she’s already earned through her honorable service.

I wanted to share this story because I really want veterans to know that coming to WorkSource isn’t always about employment. Whatever you’re facing – maybe you have significant struggles in your life and you’re not sure what resources are in your community. Veteran representatives at WorkSource are familiar with all the community resources. It doesn’t matter what barrier you have; we likely have the solution. We’ve got partners in the community so we can introduce you to other helpful specialists and make sure you’re getting treated with respect and dignity.

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Power of a job: Cross-county collaboration helps a veteran relocate and 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 Luis Torres and Clint Hede, who both help connect veterans to jobs, training and other services. Luis is a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program case manager for WorkSource Central Basin, which covers Grant and Adams counties. Clint is a Local Veterans Employment Representative for WorkSource offices in Yakima, Klickitat, Kittitas and Skamania counties.

Here’s a story about how they collaborated across counties to help a veteran find a job and relocate so that she could accept the job.

Luis: So, today we’re here to talk about Bobbi. She’s an Army veteran who was referred to me through the vocational rehabilitation and employment program that’s run through the Veterans Administration. Bobbi was getting ready to finish up an internship in information technology (IT) and needed help finding stable employment after her internship ended.

We helped revise her resume and started providing referrals to jobs and service agencies for veterans. We also helped enroll her in the Hilton Honors Program, which gives 100,000 hotel points to veterans to use for anything job related. So, when they need to travel for job interviews and things like that, they can use the points instead of their own income.

We were having a tough time finding her a job when I saw an email from Clint, saying that he had a good job for anybody interested in IT work.

Clint: I had heard about an opening for an IT professional at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I sent out the notice to WorkSource offices regionally because I didn’t have anyone for the position locally. Luis responded rapidly with Bobbi’s resume, which I sent to the hiring authority, and they were very interested. They interviewed Bobbi, liked her and hired her.

Luis: After Bobbi was offered the job, we had a problem: She lived in Soap Lake and the job was located in Prosser — definitely not a commutable distance. She already had finished her internship; she had no income and was living in a travel trailer. She also had therapy horses that we had to consider when helping her relocate.

We reached out to the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs about a program called the Veterans Innovation Program, or VIP. Bobbi was awarded $2,000 to help her relocate. We helped her find a rental where she could have her horses. She moved to the Yakima area, started work and has been very happy in her new federal job.

In closing, WorkSource has a huge network of veterans employment representatives throughout the state, and we use each other. We’re able to connect veterans to different opportunities that they might not normally know about.

Clint: And if you’re an employer looking to hire a veteran, we highly encourage you to participate in Washington state’s YesVets program. Go to YesVets.org.

#Powerofajob: Military veteran finds help and resources at WorkSource

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 Clint Hede of WorkSource Yakima. Clint’s job — and that of other veterans employment representatives at WorkSource offices around the state — is to help veterans with anything they need: a job, training, referrals to other community services and whatever it takes to serve those who served.

Here, he tells one of his many, many stories about helping a fellow veteran get back on his feet.

I cover the WorkSource South Central area, which includes Yakima, Klickitat, Kittitas and Skamania counties. I was working with Kevin Sullivan, another veterans representative, to help a Marine Corps veteran named Ryan.

Ryan had recently completed the vocational rehabilitation program through the state Department of Veterans Affairs and was looking for work, traveling across the state to job interviews.

He thought he was entitled to a couple more benefit checks through the vocational rehab program, but it turns out he didn’t get those checks. He contacted us in pretty desperate straits financially. He was facing a vacate notice on his apartment as well as shut-off notices for utilities. He was the sole provider for their family of four, so this was an urgent situation.

I contacted Kristan Johnson from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Innovation Program (VIP) and explained Ryan’s dire situation to her. She encouraged me to proceed with a VIP application and include all of his due bills. They were able to assist Ryan in covering four months of rent and his utilities to keep this family housed.

I also sent his resume off to an employer at the Yakima Training Center [part of Joint Base Lewis-McChord] who was looking for a maintenance technician. Ryan interviewed for that job and was selected for that position starting at $19.05 per hour.

Ryan said that without the help of these programs, he and his family might have become homeless. They’re now stable, looking forward to a bright future.

If you’re a veteran, spouse of a veteran or a job seeker in general, I highly encourage you to come to WorkSource and see what we have to offer. We have tons of resources on site, but we also can refer you to resources in your community. If you’re an employer and you want to hire a vet, please go to YesVets.org.

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.

WorkSource finds perfect job for customer with passion for helping others

(en español)

Welcome to #WorkforceWednesday!

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’s story comes from Kassandra Watson of WorkSource Central Basin in Moses Lake. As a teacher of the very successful Strategies for Success course, Kassandra is routinely moved to tears by her students. This is just one of her stories.

“‘Pollyanna’ is a long-standing community volunteer. I think all she knows how to do is GIVE. In the last a year and a half, she lost a parent, her marriage and her livelihood. Plus, she was attacked by a dog and assaulted in her own home by a trusted neighbor. Depression took hold. Getting and keeping a job became nearly impossible for her.

Pollyanna came to our Strategies for Success class and participated fully. She always showed her desire and motivation for being there, providing positive and candid feedback every week. She was very determined to finish the full six weeks of the course, including an optional seventh week.

One day, Jesse Allen of SkillSource — a WorkSource partner —passed Pollyanna in the hall. Jesse had just been talking to an employer about finding good candidates for his business. Seeing Pollyanna reminded him of all the reasons she would be a perfect match.

The interview was that day and the employer hired Pollyanna the next day! She was very regretful to miss classes, but Jesse and I both assured her that this was the best possible outcome!

As of our last contact, Pollyanna still works for that employer — a position where every day she gets to give of her heart to those who need it most.”

¡Bienvenidos! A #WorkForceWednesday!

Cada semana enfatizamos una historia diferente del poder de la fuerza laboral. Esta semana Kassandra Watson de WorkSource central Basin en Moses Lake comparte esta historia. Como maestra del exitoso curso Estrategias para el Éxito, y Kassandra constantemente se siente conmovida por sus estudiantes. Esta es solo una de esas historias.

“Pollyanna” ha sido una voluntaria de mucho tiempo. Yo creo que lo único que sabe hacer es: DAR. Recientemente ella sobrellevó un año y medio difícil: perdido a uno de sus padres, y a su matrimonio, el estilo de vida que tenía. Además, en su propio hogar fue asaltada –por un vecino “de confianza”. La depresión se apoderó de ella haciendo que el mantener un trabajo se convirtiera en algo casi imposible.

Pollyanna vino al curso Estrategias para el Éxito (EpE) por su propio deseo y motivación y participó en su completamente. Siempre proporcionó comentarios positivos y cándidos cada semana. Ella tenía la determinación para terminar las 6 semanas completas de EpE, incluyendo la 7ª. semana opcional.

Un día, Jesse Allen de SkillSource —una organización asociada, se cruzó con Pollyanna en el pasillo. Jesse recién había estado conversando con un empleador acerca de encontrar buenos candidatos para su negocio. Al ver Pollyanna recordó todas las razones por la cual ella sería perfecta para eses trabajo.

La entrevista se hizo ese día y el empleado contrató a Pollyanna al siguiente día. Ella estaba muy apenada de perder el resto de las clases pero Jesse y yo, le aseguramos que esa era el mejor resultado que se podía esperar.

Como último contacto, Pollyanna aún está con ese mismo empleador —en un puesto donde ella tiene la oportunidad de DAR su corazón a quienes más lo necesitan.