May 22, 2009
Many resources, one WorkSource: Local organization links employees with employers
Special to NWjobs
Ever since Brian LaPlante graduated from the University of Arizona in 1987, finding work had never been a problem. With a degree in business, he decided to go into the hospitality profession, and worked for Hilton, Marriott and several other companies. He’d been steadily employed for 20 years when, in September 2007, his job at a Bellevue hotel management firm was eliminated in a restructuring move.
At first, LaPlante, who lives in Bellevue, was confident something else would come along. He sent out his résumé to likely employers but for several months didn’t get many responses.
Even though he was given a severance package and qualified for unemployment benefits, “things got very scary for me because I wasn’t finding any good options out there,” he says. With a wife and two children to care for, LaPlante felt pressure to find a job before his benefits ran out.
That’s when he met Art Dreeben, a job counselor at Seattle-King County WorkSource, a system of public agencies that assists people in finding work and helps businesses find employees. Under Dreeben’s guidance, LaPlante rearranged his résumé and waited for the right job to come along. Three months later, in April 2008, LaPlante landed an interview with the downtown Bellevue Red Lion Hotel and was hired as the director of sales and marketing.
Job seekers' services
WorkSource offers free workshops for job seekers on a variety of topics. A complete calendar of events is available online. Here’s a sampling of workshops this week:
Effective Résumés & Cover Letters: Tuesday, May 26, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Auburn office; Wednesday, May 27, 1-4 p.m., Renton office; and Friday, May 29, 2- 4 p.m., downtown Seattle office
Interviewing Skills: Tuesday, May 26, 2-4 p.m., downtown Seattle office
Perfecting Applications: Wednesday, May 27, 9 a.m.-noon, Rainier Avenue office
Mature Workers Workshop: Wednesday, May 27, 9 a.m.-noon, Renton office
Since its inception in 1995, WorkSource has helped thousands of King County residents such as LaPlante navigate the shoals of unemployment. The name refers to a collection of government, education and community organizations devoted to linking employees with employers, and is not a separate organization, says spokeswoman Margret Graham.
“Although some people think WorkSource is part of the state Employment Security agency, it isn’t,” says Graham. “The idea is that people will be able to access multiple resources in one place.” There are 12 WorkSource regions within the state. In King County, WorkSource assists about 5,000 job seekers a month and hundreds of businesses.
A tour of WorkSource’s Seattle-King County Web site shows how to connect with the dozens of resources available to people looking for work and businesses seeking workers: job listings, hiring events, labor market information and workshops on various topics.
WorkSource centers are scattered throughout the county. The two biggest ones are in Renton and Redmond, with affiliates in Seattle and Auburn. Several area community colleges also are part of the system.
Besides access to computers, workshops and classes (all of which are free to job seekers), one-on-one help is also available. That’s how LaPlante connected with Dreeben, who not only taught him how to create an effective résumé, but helped him psychologically as well.
“He played a supportive and guidance and mentoring role,” LaPlante says. “It was one of the most valuable programs I’ve ever participated in because it really helped me to keep a cool head, to relax a little bit, to realize I will get another job at some point. When you’re in the thick of it, you don’t always think positively.”
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