In accordance to Washington State unemployment all new applicants must go through orientation for re-employment. Back in February I reported the election of a severance package offered by the cable company I worked for which lowered the pay scale as part of changes for financial gain. With the acceptance I am eligible for unemployment benefits so in the mail a letter arrives from the State of Washington informing that I have been scheduled for “a MANDATORY orientation to re-employment services” and if I don’t attend unemployment benefits will be forfeited. The letter informs class is scheduled for March 5, 2013 at 2pm at the local unemployment office called WorkSource so showing up 15 minutes early I take a seat in a nearly empty room and, as I watched it fill, realize this is the first time since 1986 when living in San Bernardino, California filing for unemployment. As the class begins I notice two co-workers sitting up front who took advantage of the severance offer as well. Happiness enjoys company!
The class begins with a video covering applicants rights, responsibilities and benefit amounts, part time work and benefits, how to fill a weekly claim, and the most important job search log. At videos end instructor Pam points out, jokingly, yet serious, that: “…unemployment gets mad if you don’t search, fill out the job log correctly and you may be audited for this at random.” The jog log is an 8×11 paper used to log at least three employer contacts made by dates, how the contact was made either in person, online, by phone call, or snail mail. So far what Pam has gone over is listed in the 46-page pamphlet mailed to applicants however, the idea of the class is the state wants assurance you read and know what is expected. What is not in it, activities, Pam now goes over and shows how to note them on the log as they are counted towards job searching. Activities are daily classes held here at Worksource that cover Skills and Abilities, Job Search Strategies, Interviewing, Resume and Cover Letters to name a few and there to help the now unemployed become, once again, employed, they are free, and can only be log once on the job log and if used more, “unemployment gets mad!” Before moving on Pam asks the class if any are any more questions on the job log no one raises a hand so now onto the second half of class.
Pam now turns our attention to the internet and the Worksource website setup by the State of Washington for job searching and so much more. The site is familiar to me using for job searches in the past however, Pam shows a few areas I was unaware of for instance: a few mouse clicks and applicants can sign up for free computer classes from basic computer and internet, MS PowerPoint, MS Office that include Word 2007 and 2010, Excel, and email basics all intended to give just enough information to get in the door and a job. Also there are job boards, job fair information and dates, and even links to take skill assessments.
Finally, so we can use this class as and “activity” Pam passes out an evaluation form that we fill out as proof for “unemployment” that we showed up so they “don’t get mad.” All in all a good two hours spent as the future holds more classes possibly and I got reacquainted with the two former co-workers as walked to our cars and promised to stay in touch.
Tata for now!