A Tale of Three Stories

inspire-achieveRecently, we received a number of inspirational stories from our staff. We share them below:

I walked into WorkSource Columbia Basin in a state of total loss and utter despair after being let go with no warning from a job I thought was secure. I went to the front counter and told the nice lady I was lost and had no idea what to do. From that moment, they took charge to give me direction. They immediately took me to a specialist named Carya. She presented opportunities I could focus on to draw me away from the abyss I was plummeting into.

By the end of the first day I had my claim established, and could pay most of my bills without imagining life in a cardboard box. Over the next few weeks, the very patient staff worked with me constantly. I hadn’t looked for a job in 35 years and knew nothing of navigating websites to complete online applications.

I made a real pest of myself, and the staff responded with diligent instruction to teach me how to accomplish what I must to regain employment. When I finally went back to work, I felt like the staff at WorkSource had saved my life through their caring and concern. I will never be more grateful for their help or forget how they attacked the challenge that was me.


“Mohommed*, along with his wife and 4 small children arrived in the USA in December of 2013. Upon arrival, he was connected with TANF and received cultural integration and job search services from the resettlement agency. After 6 months in the USA, Mohommed was referred for the Commerce WorkFirst Community Jobs program with Career Path Services where he was placed with a local thrift store in a warehouse position.

Mohommed worked 20 hours per week in this job, earning State minimum wage, and attended ESL classes 12 hours per week. At the time he was enrolled in the Community Jobs program, he was in ESL level 1. Through his warehouse position, Mohommed learned how to work independently and the workplace experience helped him to learn American culture and expectations. He also had the opportunity to engage in conversation with co-workers using English.

In the two months that he participated on this worksite he showed measurable progress in his English skills and confidence and he progressed to ESL level 3.  Though he was engaged in ESL and work experience as his primary activities, his Career Path Services’ Employment Practitioner continued to work with Mohommed on applying for work in the U.S.

The Employment Practitioner contacted several employers on his behalf including a local adult family home, in which the Employment Practitioner helped Mohommed to complete an application for a position as a caregiver and he was scheduled for a job interview. Mohommed had the opportunity to do a mock interview with his Employment Practitioner prior to his meeting with the employer.

Upon interviewing, the employer was impressed and wanted to offer Mohommed a position, however the position required mandatory training and certifications. The cost of the full-time training, plus interpreter services did not seem to be a possibility at first; however, in partnership with the employer, an agreement was reached in which Career Path Services would utilize the Commerce Workfirst Career Jump subsidized training program to help offset the costs associated with hiring Mohommed.

Through the Career Jump program, Career Path Services was able to  pay for the certification trainings required for the position as well as the first month of his wages during his training, and the employer agreed to cover the cost of interpreter services!  In using the Career Jump program, the employer received a total savings of almost $2500 in subsidized wages paid to Mohommed and the benefit of a capable and reliable employee.

During Mohommed’s time in training with the employer, the Career Path Services’ Employment Practitioner was available to help communicate or mitigate any training issues. Mohommed successfully completed his training period and was hired on permanently in September 2014. He maintains his employment today in a career that is stable and in demand. His average monthly earnings are $1,732 per month which improved his income by over $1,000 per month when he was just receiving TANF benefits for his family of 6!”


Lucia arrived in the USA in August 2014 with her husband and 2 children. She was resettled by a local agency and was introduced to the TANF program where she heard about the Commerce WorkFirst Community Jobs program. Lucia spoke very little English when she was referred to Community Jobs program with Career Path Services, and she had to be enrolled in ESL level 1 with a local college for 12 hours a week.

Lucia was placed at a local thrift store in September 2014 where she worked 20 hours a week in a subsidized position. She enjoyed this position because of the support and help she got from other employees at the store. Communication was an issue, but Lucia always had motivation and a desire to succeed in the Community Jobs program. She received ongoing job readiness assistance from her Career Path Services Employment Practitioner which included cultural issues, employer expectations in United States, as well as how to be successful at the work place.

At first, Lucia did not understand the importance of reporting to work on time or calling her supervisor when she expected to be late or absent.  She also did not follow her work schedule and showed up to work when she had the day off or did not show up to work when she was scheduled to work. The Career Path Services’ Employment Practitioner worked with her and her worksite supervisor on these issues and she gradually improved her attendance and started to catch on to the pace of work in the U.S.

Lucia came into the Community Jobs  program without any career expectations.  The Career Path Services’ Employment Practitioner was able to discuss with her different kinds of work that would match her experience and the requirements as well as the labor market trends of these jobs.  Lucia continued to gain skills and knowledge about employment in USA through her worksite placement.

After four months, Lucia had made significant improvements in attendance as well as communication and her worksite supervisor gave her glowing reviews. Based on these recommendations, Lucia was given the opportunity to transition into the Commerce WorkFirst Career Jump program with a large hotel chain. Unfortunately, this job did not work out because Lucia was not willing work on Sundays.

Lucia returned to a transitional, temporary worksite under the Commerce WorkFirst Job Connection program where she desired increased assistance with her job search.  Lucia began to participate in scheduled job search activities with her Career Path Services’ Employment  Practitioner which were difficult, not because she was not willing to look for work but because of her limited English.

Lucia struggled to meet the documented job search requirements of the WorkFirst program; however her Career Path Services Employment Practitioner saw that she was still motivated and continued to look for work. Her practitioner had to increase his assistance to help her complete job search logs in order to meet WorkFirst participation and documentation requirements.

Her practitioner  also connected Lucia with businesses for which she could apply and encouraged her to network with other job seekers from her community. Their hard work finally paid off and she was able to exit the Job Connection program with full time employment as a production worker with a  local manufacturing company.

The company was a great fit. Lucia was able to get a schedule and shift that worked for her and her family, and she was able to earn above minimum wage! Her success was due to a combination of patience and flexibility the Commerce WorkFirst programs provided and Lucia’s determination. Her family is now off TANF and she is doing well at work using the skills she gained while in the Commerce WorkFirst programs.

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