Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
Susan W. was first registered in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program as a Dislocated Worker back in 2014. She had worked as an Executive Assistant at Paragon Technologies for almost 20 years. When Susan arrived for her first appointment, she was devastated and concerned that her age was going to be a hindrance to her job search. However, she was hired four months later as a Clerk Typist II at the UC Service Center in Allentown. As a matter of fact, she originally applied for a Clerk Typist I position. After attending the job interview, and based upon her previous work experience, it was suggested that she apply for the Clerk Typist II position since it offered a better salary. It was a great fit!
After three years, Susan returned to the PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley office in January 2017. Sadly, she was furloughed from the UC Service Center in Allentown. Susan again registered to participate in Dislocated Worker services, this time in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program.
Once Susan became a WIOA participant, she enthusiastically attended many CareerLink activities: Directed Job Search, Employer Spotlight, and various workshops. Susan said she recognized numerous people who assisted her three years earlier, and that made her feel very comfortable when visiting the office. She updated her resume and was always open to the recruiters’ suggestions about various job leads.
Susan applied for a clerical position at the Lehigh County Housing Authority and was quickly called for a job interview. After anxiously waiting several months, the organization offered her a fiscal assistant position to work 37.5 hours a week making $16.00 per hour. Susan started working there on May 22, 2017.
When her career advisor called Susan to inquire about her first week on the job, she was happy and excited about her new work environment. Despite having other potential employment opportunities, Susan said she plans to stay at the Lehigh County Housing Authority in Emmaus, PA. She’s enjoying her new co-workers and is happy and grateful to be on this adventure.
CareerFORCE (WIOA Youth Program)
Diamond was determined eligible for CareerFORCE in June 2017 as a parenting youth. She was looking for a career change after working at her most recent job for approximately 4 years. During her time with the company, she was not offered opportunities for growth, despite being an outstanding employee. Moreover, she was not earning enough to provide for her family. It was time to assess her situation and make a move.
Diamond’s career advisor reviewed several scenarios with her. She wanted training, but could not afford to leave work for that endeavor. She tried to change her schedule, but that would mean attending school during the week, working on the weekdays and weekends, and leaving no time to be with her children. After much discussion, a better job with opportunities for professional development seemed like the best option for Diamond.
The career advisor and Diamond worked closely in pursuing a position with Paychex in Allentown. Diamond interviewed, completed several assessments and got a job offer, but the pay was less than she was already making. After discussing how to best negotiate for a better pay rate, Diamond was able to get the pay rate changed from $11.25 to $14.00 an hour.
Diamond is very happy with her newfound employment. She is also looking forward to the successful completion of her probation period, at which time she will be able to take the assessments that lead to more opportunities within the company. She is hopeful for her future now that she has secured better employment!
Employment, Advancement and Retention Network (EARN)
Carmen came into the EARN program with a positive and motivated mindset. During her first week, she steadfastly completed her Toolkit Checklist so that she could begin applying to jobs within the Lehigh Valley. Specifically, she focused on locating a company that had upward progression and was willing to work hard in order to make herself the best candidate possible.
After her transition to the Job Search Room, Carmen began exploring training opportunities that would make her a competitive and clear choice candidate. She had learned about the upcoming Customer Service Curriculum in the Employability Skills Room and then immediately requested to sign-up for it once the start date had been announced to program participants.
Once in the classroom as part of the Customer Service Curriculum cohort, Carmen distinguished herself as a leader in the group. She was often the first person to volunteer to share her answers or insight on topics, and would jump at the opportunity to work with others in the cohort. She arrived on time and worked hard during the day, job searching and interviewing outside of the Customer Service Curriculum schedule. Her mind was wide open and she readily accepted job leads from all the recruiters.
Upon graduation from the Customer Service Curriculum, Carmen began attending more job fairs and got HIPAA certified so that she could act as an aide for PA CareerLink® staff members. She then worked on the other end of job fairs, signing in participants and being a right-hand resource for staff. During this same timeframe, she received several job offers and remained specific about where she wanted to work that would best match her needs and offer her career growth. She was soon thrilled to find out that St Luke’s offered her a full-time opportunity for the position of Administrative Assistant.
Additionally, St. Luke’s human resources recruiter negotiated a high salary for Carmen, despite her having no experience in the medical field, because of incredible interview presence and Customer Service training. She went from potentially making $11 an hour to a guaranteed $13.50 an hour start rate. Her start date is scheduled for Monday, September 11th. The entire staff could not be more proud of Carmen and her efforts.
Business Engagement Services Team (BEST)
Zulily is an American e-commerce company which primarily sells clothing, toys, and home products. The company’s headquarters is in Seattle, WA with three fulfillment centers located in Columbus, OH, Reno, NV, and Bethlehem, PA. The Bethlehem location is an 800,000 square foot distribution center located near the Steel Stacks area. Zulily has recently announced plans to increase their local workforce of 120 warehouse associates to 500, in preparation for the busy holiday shopping season.
Job openings have been posted on PA CareerLink® and the response has been good. The “Warehouse Associate” position is full-time and permanent, with a starting wage of $13.00/hour with progressive pay increases. Zulily offers four weeks of paid time off, full benefits, a 20% employee discount on all Zulily orders, plus a company culture that allows its associates to listen to music while they work. In addition, the company offers a first shift and are located on a bus route. It is a company that really keeps its employees in mind.
In the month of July, Zulily hired two WIOA and two EARN participants. One of these individuals was hired as an Office Administrative Assistant, at a higher wage. Other positions Zulily is looking to fill include: Project Operations Manager, Business Development Manager, Quality Assurance, and Maintenance Technician. PA CareerLink® expects to see more participants hired due to the large number of positions that need to be filled by quality candidates.
Allentown Employment and Training Center (AETC) - PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley Satellite Office
Ashley became familiar with PA CareerLink® through the PREP program in 2015. When her life hit a bump in the road and she found herself in treatment at the local half-way house, she once again found herself in need of CareerLink services.
Ashley was well aware that obtaining employment could be more difficult due to her recent barrier, however, she approached her mandatory job search requirements with enthusiasm. Ashley worked with the AETC staff to update her resume, apply for jobs and connect with local employers, such as National Auto Academy. She interviewed for and was offered the Alumni/Placement Specialist position which started in July at a rate of $10.00/hour
Bethlehem Employment and Training Center (BETC) - PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley Satellite Office
A manufacturing professional visited the BETC, seeking assistance with finding employment. Maxwell expressed some concerns about his marketability in today’s job market due to his work history. Reliable transportation was another issue to be dealt with. Staff assured Maxwell that with his seven years of experience and dedication, he would be able to find employment once again.
During the course of two weeks, Maxwell committed to visiting the BETC on a regular basis in an effort to obtain employment. During each of his visits, the staff at the BETC would review the new listing for the day and assisted him with the application process as needed. During one of these visits, he announced that he had two great interviews: one with SIMOS for Walmart’s Distribution Center and the other with The Performance Group. Maxwell could not believe how quickly it all happened.
A few days later, Maxwell excitedly called with the good news that both companies had offered him a position. Maxwell had decided to accept the position with SIMOS as a Material Handler, which offered 40 hours a week at $15 an hour with the opportunity for overtime. Maxwell was very happy he found something so quickly, and will be able to support his family.
We would like to wish Maxwell much success with his current employment and future endeavors.
Easton Employment and Training Center (EETC) - PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley Satellite Office
When Viola walked through the door of the EETC, she soon realized her efforts would be rewarded with the help and guidance of the staff. A mature job seeker, Viola was temporarily living with a relative, looking for a full-time employment opportunity.
Initially, Viola came to the EETC to file for unemployment, but soon became aware of the possibilities open to her through the WIOA program. Staff also helped her identify suitable employment options.
During her time at the EETC, Viola’s financial situation went from bad to worse. Additionally, she had personal issues that needed to dealt with. Despite all of these difficulties, she kept a positive attitude and pushed forward in her search.
Viola was able to land a short-term job through Express Employment, working with a company called Netherlands Bulbs. As she was working this temporary job, Viola continued her search for a full-time, permanent position. Her persistence paid off when she received a job offer from Zulily as a Warehouse Associate.
Congratulations to Viola on her determination!