I can think of a long list of things that get better when you add them together. A peanut butter sandwich; is good. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich; better. Coffee; is so good. Coffee and donuts; are so much better. Commerce teams divided by geography; are good. One statewide Commerce team; is better. A year ago, we had the vision to combine our Western Washington and Eastern Washington Commerce teams and combine them to make one statewide team, and things just keep getting better. Spend a few minutes with me as I introduce you to the people who make up the team, what they do, and why they do it.
Who is the Career Path Services CommerceTeam?
I could just tell you who we are, or we can play a fun game of Guess Who?
See how many fun facts you can match with the person. (Answers at the end)
Bonus: Once brought a dead snake home and kept it in their freezer.
Each person listed above works together in their respective roles that highlight their strengths and, when working together, provides comprehensive, holistic service delivery to our participants. Here is a little bit more about what they do in each role:
Outreach Specialist (Maria): Is responsible for engaging new referrals from our DSHS partners and assisting them through the intake process. Once the intake is complete, she assigns the referral to the Case Manager.
Program & Compliance Specialist (Leslie): Isthe ultimate support person. From reviewing and approving vouchers to processing payroll twice a month for all participants, this position supports the whole team, and Leslie makes it look easy.
Practitioner Case Manager (Susan, Kong, Tanya, Jolene, Alisha, John, Kellen, Paul, and Brenda): Our case managers work directly with participants on their caseload and help them set goals, place them on the host site, problem solve, manage crisis, and provide support, whether it be through support services or words of encouragement.
LEP (Limited English Proficient) CaseManager (Mahsumeh): Spokane has a contract specifically serving limited English proficient job seekers. This position does all the same work as the case managers, serving theLEP population and addressing their unique needs.
Job Readiness Coaches (Rita and Zach): This role provides the additional activities that build out the program in support of the work experience. They offer everything from virtual life enrichment classes, resume help, interview prep, and job training. Some days their job can feel like all they do is track down participation logs for compliance but trust me, it is so much more than that.
Job Developer (Nick): This position creates and maintains relationships with employers statewide in hopes of developing opportunities for either direct hire or Career Jumps (a paid on-the-job training program that connects participants to employment). Nick also developed the inside-out job search model and has a unique way of helping individuals find their passion for work.
Leadership(Landon, Nate, & Kelli): We are the lucky ones who get to support the team and watch them flourish and grow as employees and people. Along with all the other manager stuff like budgets and goals. And meetings. So. Many. Meetings.
We all work together to provide services to individuals currently receiving TANF(Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). The Community Jobs program is funded by the Department of Commerce and provides individuals with temporary work experience, coaching/support, job readiness, life enrichment activities, and support in finding unsubsidized employment. The work is both hard and rewarding. Disappointing and encouraging. Draining and energizing. So, what keeps this team showing up each day?
Here is what a few of them had to say:
Alisha shared this quote as one of her favorites for the work we do: “I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.” – Jana Stanfield.
Brenda shared that the best part of her job is“helping people realize their potential.”
“One of the most rewarding things about my job is having the ability to positively impact someone’s life by helping them find meaningful work that they are passionate about doing and which provides a livable wage for their family.” Nick
Paul shared that “we work with the most driven individuals in the war on poverty. Job is tough at times but if I can help just one person, it is worth doing.”
“I’m fulfilled by the work I do every day, reaching out to parents who are going through a rough patch in life but want to find a way out of poverty, succeed, and take good care of their family. It’s inspiring to see the whole team do their best to make this happen.” Maria
Regardless of why we do the work we do, I continue to be inspired by the teamwork I witness from this group of individuals day after day. When someone asks me what I love most about my job, my answer is always the same – it’s the people I get to work with.
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