"Workforce Education at Green River was VERY instrumental in allowing me to go back to school, and I'm grateful for all the assistance I received and continue to receive." - Genie L, Green River Student

"Make sure you talk to Workforce Education...They can help in many ways to make things go smoothly and make sense." - Chris S, Green River Student

"Workforce Education...will embrace you and lend a helping hand with open hearts." Elsie Q, Green River Student

"Workforce Education has been there for me since day one!" - Jenny S, Green River student

Oct 22, 2014

Student Success - Jenny Deslauriers





Today's success story features a Q and A with Jenny Deslauriers.  Jenny is a Workforce Education student who is enrolled in the Criminal Justice program at Green River. Jenny states that she has always wanted to be a police officer and was drawn to this program, which she describes as 'empowering'. She is very excited to start her new career in this field!

Hi Jenny, thanks for joining us on the blog.
What's it like being a student in the Criminal Justice degree program?

Jenny: Being a student in the Criminal Justice degree program is empowering. I have learned more about the Constitution and my rights as an American citizen. The Criminal Justice system has so many facets and I feel like I have just barely scratched the surface of its complexity. 

What lead you to pursue training in this particular field?

Jenny: I have always been interested in law enforcement and I used to want to be a police officer, so naturally I was drawn to this degree.

How has Workforce Education helped you achieve your goals?

Jenny:  Workforce Education has helped me achieve my goal in getting an Associate's degree in Criminal Justice by helping me pay for books as well as helping with tuition. I probably wouldn't have started school when I did without Workforce Education. The program gave me an opportunity to go to school even though I wasn't financially prepared to go and without that help I would not be one class away from getting my degree.


You have already graduated with an Associate degree in Arts this summer and now getting ready to graduate with your Associate of Applied Science degree--congrats! What are your future plans after Green River?

Jenny:    I would find a career at a corrections facility close to where I live I am hoping to find a career to help prepare inmates for life on the outside of the prison walls. I feel it's very important to help inmates make goals and find them programs that will help to stay out of jail to become a productive member of society.



Oct 13, 2014

Workforce Education Welcomes New Staff Member







Workforce Education is pleased to welcome Julius Caesar Robinson who joined Green River Community College in October 2014 as the new Employment Specialist.

Caesar joins the Workforce Education department after more than a decade of providing project management for major Seattle area employers. His expertise also includes media services management and fund raising for local political campaigns.

Caesar is an accomplished musician and song writer, who has performed as a professional drummer with the Yale Repertory Theater.

Caesar's academic background includes Music Theory and Communications at the University of Washington and Audio Communications at the Art Institute of Seattle.

Caesar's plans include building an employer database to provide employment opportunities to our diverse student base and help address the workforce needs of our local employers.

Please join us in welcoming Caesar to GRCC.

Jul 1, 2014

Student Success: Misty Beardsley

Misty Beardsley,
Business Management grad
Today's success story features a brief Q and A with Misty Beardsley. Misty is a Workforce Education student enrolled in the Business Management program at Green River. This degree option allowed Misty to build on her experience in management, and also helped her acquire new skills.

She graduates this summer and can't wait to start a rewarding career. Misty's future plans might also include enrolling in Green River's brand new Bachelor of Applied Science program in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

Hi Misty, thanks for joining us on the blog. What's it like being a student in the Business Management program at Green River?

Misty: The Business Management program has been amazing. I have great professors that truly care about my success and strive to help me reach my goals. I have been blessed in being able to participate in Green River's courses, and am so happy that I took this step in my life.

What lead you to pursue training in this particular field?

Misty: I have history in business management and to keep moving forward in my career, it just made sense to get my AAA degree in Business Management and to gain new skills, as well as solidify the old.

How has Workforce Education helped you achieve your goals?

Misty: Workforce Education has helped me by offering to help with tuition and books. Without which I would have struggled and probably would have been unable to complete my degree. I am thankful for all the people in the office that have helped me answer questions, or figure out what else I needed to do to complete my many quarters at Green River with success.

You graduate this summer--big congrats. What are your future plans after Green River?

Misty: Thank you! My future consists of finding a career that will utilize as well as challenge all the skills that I have to offer. I would like to find a stable position within a company that will allow growth and that I would be happy to be a part of. Who knows--Green River may see me back among students going for the new Bachelors degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship!
Funding tip! All four Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Opportunity Grant, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst--support Business Management at Green River.

Jun 13, 2014

Student Success Story: Melissa Curry

Future software developer Melissa
Curry, pictured above with her son
Today's success story features an inspirational Q and A with Melissa Curry. Melissa is a Workforce Education student who is enrolled in the IT Networking Degree program at Green River. After a job layoff, and as a mother, she decided more education was the only way to create a brighter future for her young son.

Two years later, Melissa is preparing to graduate this week with a degree in IT Networking. She is a first generation college student, and the first in her family to earn a college degree. Looking ahead, she plans to continue her education by enrolling in Green River's new Bachelor of Applied Science Degree program, with the goal of one day becoming a rockstar software developer. Check out her story below!

Hi Melissa, thanks for joining us on the blog. What's it like being a student in the Information Technology-Networking degree program?

Melissa: Being an IT student at Green River is definitely a privilege, and a challenge as well. We have the most amazing instructors. I have no doubt I will succeed in the field.

What lead you to pursue training in this particular field?

Melissa: My dream was to be a writer, but I put those dreams on hold when I ended up getting pregnant right out of high school. My goals changed, and I was more focused on making enough money to support my son and still be able to spend time with him. As a single mother, it wasn't easy. I was working a couple of jobs to make ends meet, and then got the opportunity to train to become a casino dealer. Working as a table games dealer provided me with a job that enabled me to work only four days a week, and make enough money to not have to struggle. I put off my goal of going back to school because the money was good, but when the economy took a change for the worse, the entertainment industry took a huge hit.

I had managed to survive eight years and several changes in management in the same casino, but I was eager to make a change. When I was terminated by the newest casino manager, I decided this was my chance. I needed to set an example for my son that an education is necessary and obtainable. While researching careers, I found that the technology industry is always looking for professionals, and many of our large IT companies have to outsource jobs to other countries because not enough people are qualified here. I decided IT Networking would be the industry I'd be more secure in. We will always have technology, and as it grows, professionals will always be in demand.

How has Workforce Education helped you achieve your goals?

Melissa: After losing my casino job, I was devastated. I had been a loyal employee for eight years. I applied for unemployment benefits and applied for several table games dealer positions. Summer is the slowest season in the casino industry, so it wasn't looking good. I was so scared, worried, and truly felt hopeless. As soon as I learned that I had the option of going to school, I was so excited. I immediately applied for enrollment at Green River and for federal financial aid. I was then informed that my financial aid wouldn't be processed in time for the start of the fall quarter. Thankfully, the Worker Retraining program stepped in and was able to cover my tuition for fall quarter so I was able to start working towards my goal of obtaining my AAS degree in IT Networking. The Worker Retraining program not only helped me get the wheels rolling and start school, but they made it possible for me to finish my degree.

Two years later, towards the end of the last quarter in my program, I realized that I needed two additional credits to complete my degree. After many conversations with my adviser, we added two credits retroactively. I was so relieved, but only briefly. I learned that I wouldn't be able to have those two final credits covered by financial aid. I had no way of covering the money needed to pay the tuition for the two credits, and I wouldn't be able to get my diploma. Although it wasn't a large amount of money owed, it was impossible for me to come up with the funds as I am a full-time student and single mother with a very limited resources. The Worker Retraining program came through for me yet again, and not only paid the money owed for my final two credits, but also covered the fee for my diploma! I am so thankful for the Worker Retraining program.

You're getting ready to graduate with your Associate of Applied Science degree--congrats! What are your future plans?

Melissa: My outlook on life has brightened more and more each day as of late. I am so proud to be able to show my young son how hard work will pay off, and to be the first member of my family to receive a college degree. I am not only getting my Associate of Applied Science degree, but I am also starting to work towards my Bachelors degree in Software Development! While studying in the IT Networking program, I discovered my love of coding / scripting. When I first realized I really enjoyed this part of IT, I was a bit discouraged because I felt like I had chosen the wrong pathway. I didn't want the last two years of all my hard work to be for nothing, and start all over towards a different degree. I also didn't want to start a career in something I didn't love. Then one of my instructors, Ken Hang, announced plans for a new Bachelor of Applied Science program in Software Development that was sort of a hybrid degree in Networking and Software Development. I am so excited to be one of the first students in the program, and can't wait to start my career!
Funding Tip! Three Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst--support IT pathways at Green River.

May 2, 2014

Student Success Story: Erik Young-Brown

When OTA graduate-to-be Erik Young-Brown isn't at a clinical or in class, he enjoys building birdhouses with his son, pictured above.

Today's success story features a Q and A with Erik Young-Brown. Erik is a Workforce Education student who is enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Green River. With a strong background in skilled nursing, Erik did some research, and determined OTA was a sold fit leading to a brighter future.

After completing all of his required pre-requisites, he applied for, and was accepted into, the hybrid OTA program, which meets part time in the evenings and blends online with face-to-face instruction. A flexible option like this allowed Erik to go to school, work full-time, and be an awesome dad to his children. Fast forward to 2014--he's now preparing to complete his Associate of Applied Science degree.

Hi Erik. Thanks for joining us on the blog. What's it like being a student in the OTA program at Green River?

Erik: It is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. I was part of the evening hybrid program and our cohort bonded easily and early, and we laughed and learned a lot with each other. The program has a lot of hands-on components where interaction, and working as a team, and role playing are required. It was very positive. The program is more rigorous than I anticipated and there is no shortage of assignments. Keeping up on homework and reading takes some discipline and more than a couple late nights, but it is very doable.

What lead you to pursue training in this particular field?

Erik: Originally I was thinking about nursing (like many others!) due to my background as a nursing assistant. But then my brother-in-law's wife, an Occupational Therapist, suggested I look into the OTA program. I realized that part of my skill set was assisting older people with their activities of daily living. This is a large component of occupational therapy. After doing a little research, I knew it was a great fit!

How has Workforce Education--specifically the BFET program--helped you achieve your goals?

Erik: Frankly, Workforce Education, specifically BFET, has been tremendous. While attending, I worked either full time or nearly full time until I got to the two Level Two Field Work quarters of the OTA program. Working provided me means to support my family on a tight budget, but paying for school would have been impossible. I took out some loans as well, but my BFET grant was the cornerstone of the venture.

You're getting ready to graduate with an AAS degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Congrats! What are your future plans after Green River?

Erik: Find a job! I am looking into staying in the area in the near term. My wife would like to further her education and career path and this area is well suited for that. I am open to many types of OT but my background is skilled nursing, so I may put more energy into those leads. My kids are either in school or nearly there, so I could even see myself working in peds. The nice thing about OT is there are many different types of work you can position yourself for.
Funding Tip! All four Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Opportunity Grant, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst--support OTA at Green River.

Apr 17, 2014

Student Success Story: Michaela Guest

Michaela Guest, Practical Nurse
Today's success story features a Q and A with Michaela Guest. Michaela is a Workforce Education student who is enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at Green River. Two years ago, she turned a job layoff into an opportunity to retrain for a new occupation. Now, she's on track to graduate this summer! The Practical Nursing program, as Michaela describes it, is challenging but rewarding, and is positioning her for an exciting career in the nursing field.

Hi Michaela. Thanks for joining us on the blog. What's it like being a student in the Practical Nursing program at Green River?

Michaela: The LPN program is challenging! There is never an idle minute--if you're not in the middle of a homework assignment, you are studying. The program is also very rewarding. The hands-on learning is great with our instructors, and the students are such a supportive group working to help everyone succeed.

What lead you to pursue training in this field?

Michaela: I was laid off from my position as an editor and no one was hiring, so I thought about a career where I would really learn and have the ability to help other people on a different level. Plus, I have two kids now, so I wanted to know more to take care of them. There's nothing to gross me out in nursing--I've seen it all with them :)

How has Workforce Education--specifically, the Worker Retraining program--helped you reach your goals?

Michaela: The Worker Retraining program is what has made this transition possible for my life. Without the support provided by this program, I would never have been able to further my education to better the life of my family.

You're gearing up to graduate this summer--congrats! What are your future plans after Green River?

Michaela: That is a good question! I was hoping to transition right into a Registered Nurse (RN) program, but that may prove more of a challenge than I thought. So I'm hoping to start working as an LPN as soon as I get my license while I continue applying for RN programs.
Funding Tip! All four Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Opportunity Grant, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst--support Practical Nursing at Green River.

Mar 12, 2014

Student Success Profile: Jaemi Bermudez

The future's bright for Jaemi Bermudez, Design Drafter
Today's success profile features a Q and A with Jaemi Bermudez. Jaemi is a Workforce Education student who is enrolled in the Design Drafting Technology program at Green River. She previously worked as a self-employed theater set designer but needed a more lucrative career path, so she decided to enroll in the Design Drafting Technology program in the Winter of 2013. A year and half later, Jaemi's preparing to graduate with a drafting degree and multiple drafting-related certificates. The future looks bright for this Green River grad! Check out the story of her success below.

Hi Jaemi, welcome to the blog. What's it like being a student in the Design Drafting Technology program at Green River?

Jaemi: It's very intense, but very rewarding. There are only two instructors for the program so planning your schedule is incredibly important. But they are there to help you succeed so you will not have a problem with that. The Design Drafting Technology degree is normally two years, but they helped me work on a schedule where I could graduate two quarters early! I was incredibly grateful for that. The work itself is tough, but interesting and fun, and all of your classmates are your future co-workers so you automatically have a network. The course also promotes the American Design Drafters Association's Green River Chapter. The work that you do, the friends that you make, and the skills that you learn all help you prepare for a career in drafting. You really do feel like you are part of a great learning community when you are in this course.

What factors lead you to pursue training in this field?

Jaemi: Before coming to Green River I was a set designer for theatre. Being self employed was all right, but unfortunately it wasn't helping pay the bills. I was in a string of small jobs for a long time, which burned me out. I really wanted something that I still enjoyed as much as theatre and used some of the same skills, but was more lucrative. My mom told me about the drafting program and I thought it might be a good fit. It involves a lot of AutoCAD and drawing skills, which I already had from my prior job and which I enjoyed, but it taught how to use those skills in more of an engineering capacity. Going into the drafting field seemed interesting enough for me to stay with it and offered steady work in places like Boeing, Red Dot, and other drafting or manufacturing companies, so I thought it was the way to go.

How has Workforce Education at Green River helped you reach your goals?

Jaemi: There would be no way that I would be able to meet my goals without Workforce Education. Through the BFET program, they were able to take care of my tuition so I had the means to go to school full-time. I wouldn't have been able to take any classes in my financial situation. The BFET program was a godsend. Also, everyone in their department was so helpful and accommodating. I was really grateful for that.

You're preparing to graduate with an AAS degree, along with four drafting-related certificates--congrats! What are your future plans after leaving Green River?

Jaemi: I already have a part time job with a great company called Convergint Technologies doing Fire Systems drafting and design.My hope is that they will take me on full time as soon as I graduate. But I also have leads with other companies and I have a lot of job options. Once I have more experience, I will start applying to jobs abroad and see if I can't make my dream of living in exotic places a reality :)
Funding Tip! Three Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Worker Retraining, WorkFirst--support Design Drafting at Green River.


Feb 21, 2014

Student Success Profile: April Lazara

April Lazara, Practical Nurse



Today's student success profile features a Q and A with April Lazara. April is a Workforce Education student enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at Green River. She turned a job layoff into an opportunity to retrain for a new career. Now, after two years at Green River, she's about to make her dream of entering the medical field a reality. In our conversation below, April talks about her upcoming graduation, gives an inside look at the life of a nursing student, and discusses her plans for the future.

Hi April. Thanks for joining us on the blog. What's it like being a student in the Practical Nursing program at Green River?

April: Thank you for having me! Being a student in the Practical Nursing program is incredibly hard, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time. The instructors are tough but extremely supportive and the cohort I am with has a positive, encouraging vibe. I have two young children, so making time to fit in all my classwork, studying, and family time keeps things interesting. The program itself is so interesting; each quarter we are visiting different clinical sites to practice the skills we have learned, which exposes us to many of the different areas LPN's can work. So far we have worked in skilled nursing facilities and even Western State, a psychiatric hospital in Steilacoom. In the next two quarters we will be working at urgent care clinics, surgical sites, schools, even Veteran's Hospital in Seattle. Also, the Practical Nursing program has a wonderful high-tech lab with simulation mannequins available for students to practice on. It's a little intimidating at first, but it's nicer practicing on an animated person where mistakes are more easily forgiven!

What factors lead you to pursue training in this particular field?

April: I was laid off from my job after 21 years of employment and decided a total career change was in order. I had always been interested in the medical field, but wasn't sure it would be the right choice for me. After taking some of the aptitude tests Green River offers, I was excited to see nursing as one of the top careers I was well suited for. I enjoy helping people, problem solving, and leadership opportunities, and am excited to work in a rewarding, ever-changing field. The medical field is one with a lot of demand; knowing there is great job security in nursing is an added bonus.

How has Workforce Education helped you achieve your goals?

April: When I first started receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits, I knew there were programs in place to allow me to go back to school. What I didn't anticipate was the volume of applications and navigation needed to get all the proper forms completed and submitted by the deadlines the state has set in place. The great staff at Workforce Education was instrumental in assisting me through all the phases and requirements to ensure I was specifically able to get into the Worker Retraining program. If not for the staff and the program itself, I would never have been able to afford the opportunity to change careers at this point in my life. Due to the Worker Retraining program, I can achieve something like this. It was unthinkable just a couple years ago, but now it's a dream come true.

Graduation's in sight. What are your plans after leaving Green River?

April: I am keeping my fingers crossed that Green River is able to get the BSN-RN program they have been working on for the past few years. I would love to continue my education and earn that degree from a college I already love and from instructors that I really look up to. In the meantime, I will most likely start working as an LPN to keep my skills sharp while gaining more experience and finishing the few RN pre-requisite classes I need to get into an RN program. Practical Nursing has many opportunities, but I really want to work in an OB (specifically labor and delivery), where being a Registered Nurse is a requirement.
Funding Tip! All four Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Opportunity Grant, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst--support Practical Nursing at Green River.

Jan 6, 2014

Student Success Profile: Jillian Jimenez

Jillian Jimenez, Air Traffic Controller
Today's success profile features a brief Q and A with Jillian Jimenez. Jillian is a Workforce Education student who is enrolled in the Air Traffic Control program at Green River. A mother of two wonderful children, Jillian also works at nearby Crest Airpark in Kent, WA, assisting with the airport's day-to-day operations. A passion for aviation, along with excellent time management skills and a strong support network, have propelled her successfully through the Air Traffic Control program--she graduates next quarter! Check out her story below.

Hi Jillian, thanks for joining us on the blog. What's it like being a student in the Air Traffic Control program at Green River?

I love being a student in the Air Traffic Control program. The teachers are very thorough and have effective teaching styles that help me understand the material. Flying in the flight simulators also helps with the hands on learning, especially when we are learning about how to fly the airplane and how to use the instruments. When I first started school at Green River, I was five months pregnant with my daughter--a challenging but exciting time.

What made you decide to pursue training in this particular field?

My parents both worked for the FAA as Air Traffic Controllers over thirty years and they are both now retired. My mom was a tower controller and started her career when she enlisted in the Army in 1977. She worked at Kitzingen Tower in Kitzingen, Germany from 1978 to 1980; Campbell Tower in Fort Campbell, Kentucky from 1980 to 1981; Palomar Tower in Carlsbad, California from 1982 to 1984; Santa Monica Tower in Santa Monica, California from 1984 to 1989; and Los Angeles Tower in Los Angeles, California from 1989 to 2010. My dad worked at Los Angeles TRACON for five years; High Desert TRACON for three years; Flight Service for five years; and Regional Headquarters for nineteen years. Both my parents were very successful in their careers; as such, I felt very comfortable going into this field.

How has the Workforce Education department helped you towards completing your goals?

It's unfortunate when people have to put school on hold simply because of their finances, but Workforce Education helped me tremendously with being able to get my textbooks and being able to go to school full-time so that I could obtain my degree in the shortest time possible.

You already have a foot in the world of work. Can you tell us about your position at Crest Airport?

I am an office assistant at Crest Airpark in Kent, WA. I handle some accounting, minor maintenance on planes, give tests through systems called PSI and Lasergrade, dispatch flights, answer phones, check fuel, and perform tasks on the computer. I do a little bit of everything. I am just a small part of what makes the airport operate.

You're a working parent and a full-time college student--and incredibly successful at it all. What's your secret recipe for balancing so many different responsibilities?

It's hard but I try to manage my time in the best way possible. Sometimes it is difficult, but I do have a very supportive support team that helps me out with the kids so that I can focus on my studies. I am seriously blessed with all the support that I have!
Funding Tip! All four Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Opportunity Grant, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst--support training in Air Traffic Control at Green River.

Oct 23, 2013

Student Success Profile: Santana Hackler

Santana Hackler, Welding Technology Graduate

Today's successful profile features a Q and A with Santana Hackler. Santana is a Workforce Education student who is enrolled in the Welding program at Green River. He's earned multiple certificates and now has his sights set on completing an Associate in Applied Science degree. His welding expertise, mixed with extensive salvage experience and a background in deep-sea diving, will make Santana a triple threat on the job market. He credits Green River's Welding program for its diversity, level of engagement, and its dynamic mix of theory and practice. Check out his story below!

Hi Santana. Thanks for joining us on the blog. What's it like to be a student in the Welding program at Green River?

Santana: Well, being a student here at Green River is a life-changing experience, something that will stay with me for a lifetime. The Welding program has been a real personal challenge that has grown me as a student and as a future employee. The whole Welding program is designed to challenge you on every level of the trade, so anyone can come in and learn how to weld, and understand the processes that employers desire from their well-trained welders. The program, as a whole, is the most inviting and pleasant program I could be involved in at Green River. The diversity of people, the level of engaging welding, and the theory practices within my program have opened many doors of capability and opportunity.

Can you tell us the story of how you decided to pursue training in this field?

Santana: I decided to pursue welding training at Green River because I wanted job security. I put a lot of time and thought into my choice of career field, because the job field was changing due to the economy. After talking with a career adviser at Green River, we found that welding is an area where I have previous skill sets because of my extensive salvage and deep-sea diver training. So, the choice was a natural one, after I had spoken with Professor E. Vessor who took the time to explain how the program worked and what I could expect. From day one, I knew Green River was my ticket to success.

How has Workforce Education helped you towards completing your goals?

Santana: Workforce Education has been a true godsend in helping me realize my dream from start to finish. It brings me to tears knowing there are programs like theirs that can actually help transform people's lives, and give them an opportunity to realize their dreams. From day one, Workforce helped me in the whole process, from Compass testing, and getting into classes, to acquiring equipment to weld with. I owe the success, in all I'm doing at Green River, to Workforce; they gave me a real fighting chance to make a difference for the lives of me and my loved ones. When I think of Workforce, I think of family, because that's how they treated me. And for that, I'm graduating college. The chance I got from Workforce was a chance to change for a lifetime.

You've completed two certificates, and are approaching completion of an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding--congrats! What advice do you have for new students who are thinking about pursuing Welding training at Green River?

Santana: My advice for people who want welding training at Green River would be to approach each day as a new opportunity to add something positive and challenging to your day. Make the most of this opportunity, and the doors that you will open, by undertaking a career in welding, will change your life. Better benefits and rewards in your career will be a direct result of the fact that you chose to change your life by becoming an industry welder.
Funding Tip! All four Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Opportunity Grant, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst--support Welding at Green River.