Spokane Journal of Business

WorkSource is one-stop shop for employers, too

State agency will prescreen applicants, arrange training, even set up job interviews

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Goodrich Corp.s plant on the West Plains here is a one-man operationat least when it comes to its human-resources department. Ben Duncan, human resources manager at the aerospace-components manufacturing company, says he hires, fires, files, and answers phones.

Thats why Duncan says he appreciates the employer services offered by WorkSource, a one-stop job-services center thats operated jointly by the state Employment Security Department, colleges, local government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. In Spokane, WorkSource is located at 130 S. Arthur, although it has five affiliate sites that offer some of its services. Statewide, WorkSource has 39 centers and affiliate offices.

Some of the services WorkSource offers to employers include posting job openings on the WorkSource Web site (www.go2worksource.biz), prescreening applicants, providing space and equipment to conduct job interviews and employee orientations, producing seminars on employment-related issues, and helping to arrange customized training programs.

WorkSource has just been great in helping Goodrich hire employees for its plant here, which opened in 1999 and currently has a work force of about 100, Duncan says.

We post all the jobs through WorkSource; it doesnt matter if its professional or production, he says.

Goodrich is just one of hundreds of employers that have used the services of WorkSource in Spokane County in the past yearall at no charge, says Sue Butters, the organizations business-service specialist here.

The employer has already paid for the services through their tax dollars, she says.

Still, many employers arent aware that WorkSource has been providing such services since the state adopted the one-stop concept in 1999, Butters says. Some still think of WorkSource as nothing more than an unemployment office, and believe that any employees hired through WorkSource likely would be damaged goods, she adds.

While the office at 130 S. Arthur here used to handle unemployment claims for the state Employment Security Department, those claims now are processed at a call center here or over the Internet, Butters says. People receiving unemployment benefits, however, still can receive information on the program at the WorkSource center, or use the centers telephones or computers to process their claims.

To counter misperceptions about WorkSource, the state has been trying to get the word out to employers, through advertising, trade shows, and cold-calling, that the program can be an alternative to expensive online job-search sites or executive recruiting firms, Butters says.

We realized our focus should be more business-driven, she says. We feel like business is our customer.

Whats more, WorkSource can help companies fill all kinds of jobs, not just entry-level positions, Butters says.

Say a company is looking for engineerswe let them know that we have 800 engineers in our database, she says. That database includes nearly 4,400 resumes from people who are willing to work in Spokane County, she says; the database of job openings here currently has about 500 entries.

Butters says she meets regularly with companies that are considering moving to Spokane or expanding their operations here to let them know what services WorkSource can offer.

The organization also has a rapid-response team that will set up a mini-WorkSource center on the premises of a company that has announced significant layoffs, she says.

WorkSource hosted a job fair in the fall that featured 30 employers and more than 1,000 job-seekers, and the event so far has resulted in 130 of those people being hired, Butters says.

It plans to host a similar event in March, she says.

In a state that has continuing high unemployment, all of those services make sense, she says.

Duncan, at Goodrich Corp., says he relies on WorkSource to try to match up job openings at the manufacturing company with job seekers, to prescreen applicants, and to schedule interviews for candidates he selects.

The process is easy and, typically, very fast, he says.

Says Duncan, The Goodrich philosophy is always to work with state agencies, because not everybody gets a newspaper.

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