#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.

WorkSource students develop new skills, inspired by power of giving back

(en español)

Welcome to #WorkforceWednesday!  As an agency, the Employment Security Department provides a safety net of unemployment benefits for qualified people who’ve lost their jobs. Then working with our WorkSource partners, we help them find new jobs and even learn new skills. But WorkSource isn’t just for people on unemployment. Anyone can use our services—again and again.

Each week, we spotlight a different #PowerofaJob success story.

This week’s story comes from Port Angeles where our Strategies for Success (SfS) course reignited a passion for community service in local workers and showed them how volunteer work can help them develop real-world work skills.


Here’s Mylee’s story: In a recent Strategies for Success course in Port Angeles, students tacked two new objectives:

  • Giving Back: Making a difference in your world by volunteering and giving back to your community, resulting in a better place to live and work; and
  • Community Engagement: How community organizations and individuals build ongoing, permanent relationships for the purpose of applying a collective vision for the benefit of a community.

Students were to engage in a “Partnership of Excellence” wherein they came together as community residents to consider some sort of community project and to write down and share with the group the individual strengths and positive attributes they brought to the project.

To activate their strengths and get them to practice working with other professionals to achieve a meaningful goal, I had them create a charitable organization to address a concern they shared about their real community by applying their attributes.

The group decided to focus on the number of vacant buildings in Port Angeles and Sequim and the county’s homeless population. With professional diplomacy and impressive insight, they assigned project roles based on each team member’s mix of individual strengths and positive attributes and what would be most useful for each task and milestone.

They named their organization P.R.O.: Peninsula Restoration Organization, developed a mission statement, and designed a logo. They created a rough but doable concept map to fill vacant buildings in our community and help the homeless and the unemployed. Their plan included soup kitchens, safe shelters for homeless people to sleep, training facilities for vocational skill acquisition, space for entrepreneurs to cultivate business ideas, and shops for small and/or artisanal businesses.

The project reminded them how valuable they still are, and how much value they bring to the workplace, volunteer groups, other people in their lives, and the world.

The next day in class, several more remarked they couldn’t sleep the night before because they were still so excited about what they had accomplished together. I joined their excitement.

This was a highlight in my 20-year teaching career to witness how these inspiring and valuable human beings worked under a deadline, worked hard, worked wisely, worked creatively, worked professionally, and worked together to make their thoughtful, community-enhancing idea manifest.

I’m new to the Strategies program, but its current and future potential to empower students/clients/customers for success in their personal, professional, and community lives is exhilarating!


¡Bienvenidos! A #WorkForceWednesday!

WorkSource les recuerda a los estudiantes sobre el poder de la retribución

Esta semana proviene de Port Ángeles donde nuestro curso Estrategias para el Éxito (SpE) encendió la chispa de la pasión por el servicio comunitario de los trabajadores locales.

Recientemente, durante el curso Estrategias para el Éxito en Port Ángeles, los estudiantes emprendieron dos objetivos nuevos:

  • Retribución —Marcando la diferencia en su mundo al ser voluntarios y al dar algo a su comunidad, que resulta en un mejor lugar para vivir y trabajar; y
  • Participación comunitaria —Como las organizaciones comunitarias y los individuos crean relaciones constantes y permanentes con el propósito de aplicar una visión colectiva para el beneficio de una comunidad.

Los estudiantes participaron en una “Asociación para Excelencia” donde se unieron como residentes de la comunidad para considerar algún tipo de proyecto comunitario y para anotar y compartir con el grupo cuales  las aptitudes y atributos positivos que cada  persona aportaría al proyecto.

Para activar sus aptitudes y para practicar el trabajar con otros profesionales con el propósito de lograr una meta significativa, les pedí que crearan una organización de caridad para tratar alguna preocupación que compartieran en su comunidad real, al aplicar esos atributos.

El grupo decidió enfocarse en el número de edificios vacantes en Port Ángeles y Sequim, en relación con la población sin hogar en el condado.  Con diplomacia profesional y una instrospreccion impresionante, se asignaron roles para el projecto en base a las habilidades individuales y atributos positivos y identificando lo que sería lo más útil para cada tarea y logro.

A la organización le pusieron de nombre P.R.O: Organización para la Restauración de la Península [PRO por sus siglas en inglés], desarrollaron la declaración de su misión, y diseñaron un logo.  Ellos crearon un mapa de concepto y que se podía hacer para llenar esas vacantes en los edificios de nuestra comunidad, y ayudar a las personas sin hogar y sin empleo. Su plan incluyó comedores comunitarios, alberges seguros para dormir, instalaciones para capacitación para adquirir habilidades vocacionales, espacio para que los empresarios cultivaran ideas de negocios y crear tiendas para negocios pequeños o artesanales.

El proyecto les hizo recordar lo valiosos que son ellos todavía, y el valor que proporcional al lugar de trabajo, a los grupos de voluntarios, a las otras personas en su vida, y al mundo.

En la siguiente clase, varios dijeron que no pudieron dormir bien porque todavía estaban muy motivados sobre lo que habían logrado juntos.  Me uní a ellos en lo motivacional.

Esto fue lo más destacado de mis 20 años de estar enseñando, al ser testigo de como esos seres valiosos que tanto me inspiraron, trabajaron a plazos, trabajaron fuerte, trabajaron en forma inteligente, creativa, profesionalmente y trabajaron juntos para hacer que sus pensamientos se manifestaran en una idea para mejorar la comunidad.

Soy nueva en el programa de Estrategias, pero su potencial actual y en el futuro para empoderar a los estudiantes/clientes para el éxito en su vida personal, profesional y de la comunidad en que viven es muy asombroso.


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Olympia Economic Symposium 2017

The Workforce Information and Technology Services division of the Washington State Employment Security Department invites you to attend the 2017 Olympia Economic Symposium.

The topic of the symposium is “Technology and the Future of Work” and what that looks like for Washington state. On the agenda this year, our local economists will speak on the state of the state’s labor market covering both eastern and western Washington, and our keynote will be talking about “the robots are coming.” You won’t want to miss it!

Register online at Eventbrite by noon October 20, 2017 to reserve your seat. Registration and parking is free.

For more information, call the registration coordinator, Carmen Serrano, at 360-407-4638 or email at CSerrano@esd.wa.gov.