WorkSource offers free employment workshops

ARLINGTON — Kim Nelson worked in retail for so long that she doubted she was qualified to work anywhere else.

During WorkSource's Oct. 4 employment workshop

ARLINGTON — Kim Nelson worked in retail for so long that she doubted she was qualified to work anywhere else.

Jack Shelton is already working in manufacturing and construction, but he’s looking to switch employers.

And Carol Wilson wasn’t sure how to translate her years of working from home into an employable resume.

When they met with Kevin Logan of WorkSource Snohomish County in the Arlington City Council chambers Oct. 7, he had good news for all of them.

“A lot of your skills are transferrable and apply in other areas,” Logan said, before telling Nelson, “You say you’re only qualified for retail? I beg to differ. Even a position as a checker gives you experience in ordering, stocking and customer service.”

Logan explained that even skills gained from personal experiences, such as volunteering and parenting, can be added to a resume.

This came as welcome news to Wilson, who’s held administrative roles in the past.

“I feel like my age is playing against me,” said Wilson, who has been the breadwinner since her husband was laid off a year and a half ago.

Logan acknowledged that some employers might be disinclined to hire folks with gray hair, but nonetheless asserted, “Most of them just want someone who can do the job, so all you need to do is effectively communicate to them that you have the skills that they need.”

Logan cited WorkSource’s success in re-employing as many as 6,000 people each quarter.

While Shelton is already conversant with computers and internet searching, he had no idea there were so many employment resources available online.

“I’m just looking for something a little closer to home, with more of a chance for advancement,” said the lifelong Arlington native. “WorkSource has already helped me greatly.”

Because WorkSource’s nearest offices are in Everett, WorkSource members such as Logan conduct outreach in communities including Arlington, to present employment workshops and make the organization’s resources available.

“The good news is that most of the people we meet already have the skills they need to get hired, because it’s a lot harder to get those skills than it is to get trained on how to write a resume or perform in a job interview,” Logan said. “There are a lot of folks who are among the long-term unemployed, but also many who are under-employed.”

Logan elaborated on how transferrable certain skills are by touting even roles such as office duties for one’s church as valuable.

“Right there, you’ve got bookkeeping, light admin receptionist work experience, even though it’s not a paid job per se,” Logan said.

Another common scenario Logan has faced are people who left their jobs to care for ailing loved ones.

“That actually gives you experience toward a job as an employable caregiver,” Logan said.

WorkSource’s next free workshops in Arlington will return to the council chambers at 100 E. Third St., at 11 a.m. on the Tuesdays of Oct. 14 and 21 to cover job interviews.

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