In this series, we’ll be shining a light on the people who make WorkSource work. Today, we have Employment Specialist Pete Coleman!

Pete is relatively new to the WorkSource system, starting right at the beginning of 2023, but his impact—on both his coworkers and customers—has been immense.

Before Pete was a WorkSource representative, he was a WorkSource customer. After being laid off from his previous employer, he came to the Vancouver center as a job seeker. Deeply passionate about service work, he was immediately drawn to WorkSource’s mission.

“I asked if I could volunteer or help out in the resource room,” said Pete. “But instead, I received a job referral through Marilene Cannon, the Labor and Industries contact at WorkSource.”
Since then, he’s been in his role for about ten months—relishing every opportunity to guide his customers toward self-sufficiency.

Pete’s work revolves around helping people overcome barriers to get back to work by providing resources, support services, and job training for eligible participants. This means that Pete can help people pay for gas during their job search, buy new clothes for their big interview, and help them with their resume.

I asked Pete if he could offer an example of the type of work he does with participants. He recounted a story of a single mom who came to WorkSource through a local college and needed tuition assistance. After completing the eligibility component, Pete was able to provide her tuition assistance and pay for her licensing through the state of Washington.

Employment Specialists like Pete stay by their participant’s side until they’ve not only found a job but kept one too.

While this customer was successful in her job search, she was having trouble paying for her child’s daycare. Barriers like this are no stranger to WorkSource staff and it’s one of the many reasons why support services can help a job seeker retain their new job. WorkSource was able to pay for her daycare until her child started school.

“The future looks good,” said Pete. “And the horizons appear to be much brighter.”

Stories like this happen all the time thanks to Employment Specialists like Pete Coleman.

In his own words, Pete refers to himself as an “outspoken introvert,” and an “avid reader that appreciates a good documentary.” And while he may be a stoic force, he’s also a dedicated public servant. Program Supervisor Heather Fox had this to say about Pete, “He has a way with people… Everyone in the office just loves him.”

Because Pete is a professional Employment Specialist, we thought it was only fair to ask about how job seekers can better find work. Pete’s advice?

“Utilize all services available through WorkSource whether it’s the Resource Room, workshops, resume assistance, or the different programs—there’s a high probability that there will be a service that can be provided to help a customer with getting back to work.”

If you’re looking for work and ready to take your next step, contact WorkSource to talk with an Employment Specialist (like Pete!), to learn more about how we can help you get back to work.

Want to learn more about training to help you get a job or advance in your career? Our Employment and Training Orientation provides a great springboard for new participants to get involved with WorkSource. Orientations take place from 1-2 p.m. on Thursdays in Vancouver, and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in Kelso.

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