By Suzi LeVine, Employment Security Department commissioner — July 2018 to January 2021

Photo of Suzi LeVine
Photo of Suzi LeVine

Tikkun olam.

It’s a Hebrew phrase for “repair the world.”

It’s the idea that we are obliged to do what we can during our lives to leave the world better than when we entered it. It’s one of my core values and dictates how I choose to spend my time and my energy.

Given this north star, I feel incredibly fortunate to have spent the past two and a half years as the servant leader of the Employment Security Department (ESD), where so much happens to make…

By Suzan LeVine, Commissioner for the Washington State Employment Security Department

April 10, 2020

Photo of Frances Perkins
Photo of Frances Perkins

Happy 140th Birthday to Frances Perkins, architect of the New Deal , labor secretary in the FDR administration, the nation’s first female cabinet member and my personal She-ro!

Unemployment insurance — the gift she gave our nation almost 100 years ago when she served as FDR’s labor secretary and New Deal whisperer — keeps on giving.

Perkins was, as enumerated in “The Woman Behind the New Deal” by Kirstin Downey, the force who brought economic safety net programs such as Unemployment Insurance, Social Security, federal minimum…

In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness month, guest blogger Elizabeth Gordon, Executive Director of the Governor’s Committee for Disability Issues and Employment, talks about the role of the GCDE and explains how to get involved.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! Here at the Governor’s Committee for Disability Issues & Employment, every month is dedicated to full participation and equal opportunity for Washingtonians with disabilities.

The GCDE is administered by the Washington Employment Security Department. It’s led by 27 volunteer committee members appointed by the governor. Members come from around the state and are largely people with disabilities…

It’s Workforce Wednesday! This week’s Power Of A Job story comes from Seth Maier, a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program representative at WorkSource Spokane. Having worked with many veterans exiting a retraining program, Seth understood what customer Natasha needed. They both worked hard to present her skills effectively and translate her journalism degree into a job. Along the way, Seth also helped Natasha realize her wish to purchase a home.

The hardworking folks at WorkSource help dreams of all kinds come true!

Here is Seth’s story:

So I wanted to share a story today about a veteran who was referred to…

Happy Workforce Wednesday! Today is the two-year anniversary and episode 91 of Power of a Job. Thank you for following these inspiring stories of job seekers finding hope, training, support and careers. The Employment Security Department enjoys telling their stories.

This week, we visit WorkSource Columbia Gorge in White Salmon, where agriculture is a top industry. The center has Migrant Seasonal Farmworker (MSFW) staff who specialize in connecting farmworkers to growers. But as you will see, they also help farmworkers make the transition to jobs outside of agriculture.

Here’s Josefina’s story:

Hi, my name is Josefina Cortez and I am…

Happy Workforce Wednesday! It’s time for another Power of a Job success story, this time from WorkSource Columbia Gorge in White Salmon. WorkSource offices in communities where agriculture is a top industry have representatives who specialize in connecting farmworkers to growers. But they also help farmworkers make the transition to jobs outside of agriculture if that’s what they want.

Claudia Castro wanted a job in the administrative field, so that’s what Silvia Huszar at WorkSource Columbia Gorge helped her to achieve.

Here’s Claudia’s story:

“A few years back, I found myself unemployed for about six months after graduating from college…

It’s Workforce Wednesday and time for another Power of a Job success story from around the state. Today we bring you Debbie Prest, a mature worker with an outdated skill set. With guidance from Wenatchee Valley WorkSource staff and the Wenatchee SkillSource office, Debbie was able to go back to school to update her skills. She also was able to connect with a flexible employer, willing to work around her class schedule. Debbie is well on her way to a new career, with increased confidence in what she is capable of accomplishing!

Here’s her story:

Hi, my name is Debbie…

Teamwork makes the world work!

This week we spotlight Veterans Employment Representative Brandon Harting and Basic Food Employment and Training Coordinator Christine Paige of WorkSource Colville. They use a team approach to “surround” veterans and other job seekers, creating a safety net for customers while they overcome their barriers and ultimately find work.

We hope you enjoy this week’s installment.

Brandon: Hi. I’m Brandon Harting, the Veterans Employment Representative here at WorkSource Colville.

Christine: My name is Christine Paige. I’m the Basic Food Employment and Training Coordinator for Colville.

Brandon: We’re here to tell you about a couple of veterans…

WorkSource centers statewide play an active role in matching employers with job seekers who have criminal histories. WorkSource specialists teach these customers how to talk honestly to employers about their past and help to remove barriers to finding work. These same specialists also explain to employers the benefits of hiring justice-involved people, who can be reliable, trustworthy and hardworking employees.

Second chances can be powerful and life changing. Here is just one second-chance story from one WorkSource Specialist: Reza Firouzi.

Hi. I work for WorkSource Central Basin in Moses Lake. I’ve been working for the Employment Security Department for the…

But it’s not what you think. It really is cold feet. Freezing, in fact. That’s part of the insights from my experience testifying before the House Ways & Means committee hearing insights.

About a month ago, I had the honor of testifying before the House Ways & Means committee about Washington State’s best-in-class Paid Family and Medical Leave Program. I finally had time to compile some key observations from that experience.

#1: Socks — It was (and apparently always is) absolutely frigid in that room. I had hoped that, with enough bodies and enthusiasm in the room, it would warm…

Washington State Employment Security Department

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