WorkSource helps thousands experience the power of a job

Washington highlights the importance of workforce developments programs

Manu Morgan, a career consultant with WorkSource Lynnwood, talks about helping a laid-off aerospace worker find a new job. (Washington State Employment Security Department)

Editor’s Note: Several customer names have been changed in this story to protect their confidentiality.

Sanae visited WorkSource Lynnwood in October 2016. She had been laid off from an aerospace company and was struggling to find work. Her work history in aerospace was extensive, and she was passionate about the field of structural analysis engineering. But at 46, the Japanese American woman was worried she’d have to move home to Japan and live with her parents.

After participating in several resume-writing and interviewing workshops, Sanae approached her job search with new confidence and landed a $147-an-hour job with another Washington company.

The services Sanae and many others have received from the Washington State Employment Security Department underscore the life-changing work of ESD employees, their workforce partners in the WorkSource system, and the federal grants that make these programs possible. Through its weekly Power of a Job series, ESD began spotlighting customer stories in August, following news that Congress was considering cuts to employment services.

Since 1933, employment services grants have supported Washington state’s ability to support a wide range of workers and industries, helping veterans and their families find jobs, providing employers with recruiting assistance and job-readiness training for employees, and supporting innovative job training and apprenticeship programs.

Decimating employment services grants would mean a $15 million reduction to Washington, threatening to close more than half of the state’s nearly 60 WorkSource centers, eliminating as many as 150 WorkSource staff positions, curtailing partner services and resulting in 50,000 Washington workers not finding jobs.

Workforce leaders in Washington state rallied with peers across the country to demonstrate the tremendous value these grants deliver to our communities, state and nation through letters to Congress and personal meetings in Washington, D.C. On Friday, Congress passed the 2018 omnibus spending bill with only a $5 million reduction to employment services nationwide.

In Washington, WorkSource staff help thousands of employers fill hundreds of thousands of jobs, working with individuals or larger groups such as the Washington Hospitality and Retail associations.

On the eastern side of the state, Calvin, a U.S. Navy veteran, served as part of ESD’s veterans team at WorkSource Spokane while he was a graduate student at Washington State University. Thanks to the help of the local veterans team, he landed his dream job as a budget analyst for the U.S. Air Force.

“During my time in the program, I learned resume writing, the interview process, completing applications and many other useful job-seeking skills,” Calvin said. “The work I did at WorkSource was some of my most rewarding experiences. During my time there, I participated in multiple job related projects and community events. I also assisted veterans facing various obstacles in their life. I know that I would not have accomplished my career goal without the skills I learned and the support I received from participating in the work study program at WorkSource.”

WorkSource helps many workers overcome barriers as well. As part of its groundbreaking Strategies for Success program, WorkSource teaches job seekers confidence, community pride and job-readiness skills many have never experienced.

In a recent video, Strategies for Success instructor Kate Greene shared how Jesse, a homeless mom with a 4-year-old son, learned to focus on what she could control in her life. Jesse landed a job at the Lucky Eagle Casino.

ESD also works with recent immigrants, who count on WorkSource to help them not only find a job — but to find better jobs to improve their lives. They include Steven, an accountant who moved to Washington with his son from Uganda. Although he couldn’t find an accounting job in Washington because of different job requirements here, he was able to find a full-time job, which will help him bring his wife and daughter to the state.

These are just a few of a dozens of stories WorkSource and other ESD staff have shared — and more stories pour in each week — including testimonials from businesses who rely on WorkSource for a steady pipeline of qualified workers. You can find those employer stories on Twitter using the hashtag #PoweredbyJobs.

For the latest reporting period, covering April 2016 through March 2017, WorkSource helped 129,667 people find a job. Since WorkSourceWA.com launched in 2016, 11,722 employers have posted 393,521 jobs, and 272,936 job seekers have registered to post their resumes, apply for jobs and more.

Watch for new stories each Wednesday on ESD’s blog.