Nearly 100 Turn Out For Legislator-Hosted Jobs Forum

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Rep. Tina Orwall

Nearly 100 people showed up at Kent City Hall last Saturday (Feb. 20th) to attend a Community Jobs Forum sponsored by state legislators from the 33rd district.

The informational event was meant to highlight government resources that are available to job seekers and those needing job-related training.

Participating agencies included:

  • WorkSource
  • Port Jobs
  • Veterans Conservation Corps
  • Several south King County-area community and technical colleges
  • U.S. Census Bureau

Senator Karen Keiser (D – Kent ) and Rep. Tina Orwall (D – Des Moines) each gave welcoming remarks that touched on some of the job creation efforts currently under consideration in the Legislature.

Nearly 100 showed up for the legislator-sponsored Jobs Forum.

“Right now, the average unemployed worker has been jobless for at least seven months,” Keiser said. “That’s an eternity when you can’t pay the mortgage or utilities and benefits are close to running out. This jobs fair was a simple, yet effective way to help people in our district establish connections and crucial job leads. There should be more. The Legislature is looking at short- and long-term approaches to get people back to work, including maintaining our commitment to job retraining programs and helping businesses stay afloat with businesses assistance programs.”

Representatives from each of the agencies in attendance also gave brief presentations about the various resources they offer, most of which is free for job seekers. As budget cuts loom within state government, many of the presenters stressed that federal dollars for worker retraining are still available, and local community colleges are eager to help dislocated workers and those needing to update their skill sets.

“Our jobs forum was not only about linking people to programs and services, but also about helping them navigate these services,” Orwall said.  “This was a way to expand resources around some of the training programs to help people get back to work; overall I think this was a very big success.”

Also present at the forum were representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau, which is in the process of hiring thousands of workers for temporary positions in Washington state to help households accurately fill out their census forms.  These jobs are extremely important because the United States constitution requires a complete population tally every 10 years, and the results determine everything from congressional representation to the amount of federal dollars allocated for things like education and transportation.

Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D – Des Moines), who originally came up with the idea for the Jobs Forum, was unable to attend Saturday due to illness.

“The overriding theme in the Legislature this year is jobs, but I wanted it to be more than just a buzzword,” Upthegrove said.  “I wanted to connect people with the resources that already exist here in the community.”

The 33rd Legislative District includes SeaTac, Des Moines, the west part of Kent, and parts of Burien and Normandy Park.

If you’re looking for work in the general Burien/Highline area, check out our Jobs Page, which is continually updated with job listings 24/7.

(Photos courtesy the Washington State House Democratic Caucus).

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