After revamping its online resources last year, WorkSource wants Jefferson County job seekers and employers alike to know that their specific needs can be met.
Ask, and WorkSource staff will tell you that it is not the unemployment office, but the reemployment office.
WorkSource is a statewide partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that provides an array of employment and training services to job seekers and employers in Washington.
After Chad Pearson and Patrice Varela-Daylo addressed the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Jan. 9, Varela-Daylo and Brandino Gibson, also of WorkSource, spoke to The Leader about their experiences within the county.
Pearson, who works in business outreach for the state’s Employment Security Department, told chamber members that WorkSource revamped its website last summer for the first time in 15 years.
To bring itself up to speed with the modern job market, WorkSource partnered with the job-search website Monster, which gives employers broader access to job seekers, and offers job seekers access to tools such as its résumé builder.
“Our new site’s services are tailored specifically for Washington,” Pearson said. “You can look up occupational data that applies just to this state, such as pay ranges for various jobs, and what the demand will be for a given job field within the next five to 10 years.”
WorkSource also gives employers free access to job seekers’ résumés on the site, which it rates and ranks in real time, as they’re submitted, according to the criteria of Monster and the employers.
“Our goal is to connect employers and job seekers,” Pearson said. “Before, we had more of a focus on job seekers, but now, they’re on about even footing with employers on our site.”
To that end, the front page of the WorkSource site – at worksourcewa.com – has separate logins for employers and job seekers, and apps that allow it to be read on smartphones and tablets.
WorkSource’s other resources for job seekers include storage space for multiple résumés and cover letters, a calendar for their appointments and a budget calculator to determine jobs by which they can realistically make a living.
For employers, the site not only links to business tips, but also develops what Pearson called a “sixth sense” based on what they’re looking for.
Varela-Daylo may not have a “sixth sense,” but with 25 years of experience in Jefferson and Clallam counties, she feels more than qualified to serve as WorkSource’s business service representative for both counties.
“I have an extensive background in human services, law and banking, which has given me a lot of business contacts,” Varela-Daylo said. “In my time with Community Action, I dealt with barriers to employment, and through the USDA, I became familiar with rural development and contractors.”
SHORT ON SKILLED LABOR
What Varela-Daylo sees in Jefferson County are a number of companies running short of skilled tradespeople.
“We have some apprenticeship programs, but we need more of them,” Varela-Daylo said. “This area depends on tourism, so there’s a lot of seasonal employment, including hotel servers and maids, plus park service workers. With not a lot of big industries, this poses a challenge to smaller businesses.”
Gibson, who supervises Jefferson and Clallam counties for WorkSource, sees the potential for significant growth in the health care field, especially in Jefferson County, because of its relatively older population.
“There’s also a demand for housing here that lends itself well to a focus on construction,” Gibson said. To that end, Gibson and Varela-Daylo agreed on the need to get into high schools and inform students that trades are a viable alternative to college, and not just for those who “aren’t smart enough” for higher education.
Varela-Daylo touted the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding as a vital resource for fostering the maritime trades that Port Townsend depends on.