“It’s not the unemployment office; we’re the re-employment office,” said Brandino Gibson, supervisor for WorkSource Clallam County.
He and seven other staffers made the move in mid-October from Port Angeles to the new office space at 810 W. Brackett Road, just north of West Washington Street.
Gibson said their work is “for the unemployed, underemployed, and those looking for a shift in their career.”
According to its website, WorkSource Washington is a statewide partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that provides an array of employment and training services. It helped about 170,000 workers and about 5,600 employers last year.
On the move to Sequim, Gibson said the agency was unable to find new space to lease in Port Townsend just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic beginning stateside, so that office was closed in Jefferson County. At about the same time, WorkSource staff were looking for new space in or near Port Angeles, which led them to the Sequim location that has neatly double the square footage, he said.
With a bright feeling from dozens of windows and a view of the grain elevator and the Olympic Mountains, some of the new amenities include three classroom spaces, one meeting room, two private interview rooms, and a resource lab for working on resumes, scanning, printing and emailing.
“We love the new building,” Gibson said. “This is the facility Clallam County deserves and with upgraded technology, we can better serve the community.”
Some of the free services include helping job seekers learn to make resumes, do well in interviews, and take assessments on interests and skills. The Pathways program offers young adults ages 16-24 training and more while another representative specifically connects veterans with employment and training.
WorkSource also hosts space for different agencies, such as Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. During the early part of the pandemic, Gibson said several staffers temporarily shifted to help with state unemployment after they received some training.
For now, the office is open for appointments only from 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; call ahead to 360-351-4021.
The office hosts its first in-person event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, for the Department of Corrections.
When more staff are hired, hours will expand at the facility, Gibson said.
As for the hiring crunch affecting employers locally and nationwide, Gibson said if he knew the exact reason for the issue, he’d be a hero.
In his experience, Gibson said, he finds the crunch is from a multitude of reasons, including: people opting for earlier retirement; families learning to live with a lot less with only one parent working instead of two; fear of going out into the community because of the pandemic; and others seeking a change and/or something more than an entry level job.
One silver lining of the pandemic, Gibson said, is that it’s helped his company learn to better serve people through virtual meetings.
For more about WorkSource Clallam County, call 360-351-4021 or visit worksourcewa.com.