"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

Dec 5, 2012

Food Stamp Tweet Week

This week, Newark Mayor Cory Booker is tweeting his week on food stamps (you can read the Mashable article and follow his Twitter feed by clicking here). In an effort to build solidarity for folks who live on food stamps, and to raise awareness of issues around food justice, Booker will spend just $29.78 on food this week, from 12/4 to 12/11.

Imagine getting by on $29.78 worth of food stamps. Every penny counts. What's astounding is that food stamps isn't some liberal-heart-bleeding safety net program for the poorest of the poor. According to a recent New York Times article, over 46 million Americans receive food stamps, up from 26.3 million Americans in 2007.

46 million. That means 15 percent of the population in this country are counted poor, and therefore eligible for food benefits. What does this mean? It means poverty is growing. It means a lot of people need help to eat. It means something as fundamental as hunger is a ginormous societal problem that's hiding in plain sight.

A couple of things in response.

One, maybe you're receiving food benefits. If so, have you thought about going to school to get new skills leading to a better job? The Workforce Education office at Green River Community College administers several different funding programs that help low-income students pay for school. One of those programs - the Basic Food Employment & Training Program - specifically helps food stamp recipients. To apply, visit go2collegefree.com or call 253-833-9111 ext 2211.

Two, maybe you're having trouble meeting your grocery bill each week and it's never occurred to you to apply for food stamps / food assistance. If so, you can apply online at foodhelp.wa.gov. It's a quick and relatively easy application process.

Nov 27, 2012

Student Success Profile: Nicole Rubia

Today's blog post features a fascinating Q and A with Nicole Rubia. Nicole is a Workforce Education student at Green River. She's enrolled in the college's rigorous Court Reporting program which, depending on the area of emphasis, prepares students for careers in Closed Captioning, Medical Stenoscriptionist, and Court Reporting.

Nicole Rubia
Hi Nicole. Can you describe for us what being a student in the Court Reporting program is like?

Nicole: It's a very challenging, fast-paced program and all of your assignments have to be at 98% or better. I like to compare it to learning a foreign language. It's a lot of practice, repetition and muscle memory because at higher speeds your muscles will react before your brain can catch up. The end-goal testing speed for the Court Reporting program is 225 WORDS PER MINUTE, after all! I'm a person who really thrives on challenges, so I find it exciting. I find that even with an extensive class time, I'm on my machine 2-3 hours a day, especially on days when I don't have class. I try to get in 30 minutes of practice first thing in the morning before heading to school, another 30 minutes before I go to bed at night and one practice session when I get home on days I don't have a shorthand class. I tend to practice more on weekends. It sounds like a lot but I've managed to find a good balance between being a mom, participating in Work Study, staying on top of my classes and making time for practicing stenography.

Can you tell us the story of how you decided to choose this as a field of study?

Nicole: I have a strong legal background. I started as an Investigator for The Public Defender's Association in King County, and then I went into Civil Litigation as a Complex Litigation Paralegal with a focus in Construction Defect and Personal Injury. The hours were starting to take a toll on me and I'd always wanted to go into Court Reporting and further my education, but as a single parent I didn't think going to school was an option. This past April I had a day off and went to the Green River Community College website to look into the Court Reporting program and found out about a Go 2 College Free funding workshop (put on by Workforce Education). I signed up and went that same day. I left the workshop enrolled and registered for classes for the upcoming quarter, with my tuition and books paid for.

What's next after completing your degree?

Nicole: Because of my legal background, I plan on going into freelance court reporting, and hopefully someday becoming an official reporter (for congressional hearings, etc).

Last of all, what advice would you give to new students who are thinking about enrolling in the Court Reporting program?

Nicole: Do your research and get informed! Going back to school is NOT impossible. There are so many resources out there to help you get started and to obtain a degree. Had I known about all the resources sooner, I probably wouldn't have waited as long.
$$$ The following Workforce Education funding programs support Court Reporting at Green River: BFET, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst.

Nov 8, 2012

Prof Tech Profile #11: Aerospace Programs

Today's Prof Tech profile features a brief Q and A with Bob Embrey, who will be talking about three exciting new Aerospace training programs now available at Green River.

Bob Embrey
Hi Bob. Thanks for joining us on the blog. To start, can you tell us the story of how Aerospace came to Green River?

BOB: In 2010 Boeing and companies in the aerospace supply chain began work with the Washington State Community College system to align curriculum more closely with industry needs. The first step was to examine aerospace and manufacturing curriculum already in place around the state and then make recommendations. After an exhaustive tour, the consensus was that two-year degrees – while highly encouraged along with four-year and graduate education – actually train well beyond what entry level candidates need to know. From that came the recommendation for short-term education and training programs, perhaps in the form of stackable certificates. Next, the governor’s office acknowledged this vital piece of the workforce training continuum and provided grant funds dedicated to the development of short-term aerospace training programs. Green River Community College proposed a plan to deliver three brand new certificate programs and in early 2012 the college went from concept to classroom in 100 days with the help of several industry partners and highly committed faculty.

There are currently three different Aerospace certificate programs: Precision Machining, Machine Maintenance, and Quality Assurance. How can prospective students determine what certificate pathway is best for them?

BOB: A good way to determine the best pathway is to match your interests and background with the program. If you have strong interest you’ll stay motivated, and if your background aligns in the least bit you’ll come across that much better on a resume’. Getting a job involves three keys: 1) knowledge and skills, 2) personality, and 3) experience. The college provides the knowledge and skill training and the individual brings the other 2/3 of the equation, so matching your interests and background with a particular program is significant to success. Prospective students can learn more about the typical work in each of these programs by visiting greenriver.edu/aerospace and checking the News and Resources page. In addition, here are some videos here and here that might help in the decision process.

The future of Aerospace looks bright. What kinds of jobs might Aerospace training at Green River prepare students for?

BOB: Background and experience play a large role in job positioning. Here are some typical jobs for which these programs help prepare:
  • Principles of Precision Machining will prepare students for entry level positions as Assemblers and Fabricators, Machinist’s Assistants, Metal Workers, Machine Operators, and more.
  • Machine Maintenance will prepare students for entry level positions as Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Facilities/Machinery Maintenance workers, General Maintenance and Repair Workers, Maintenance Technicians, Building Maintenance Technician, Industrial Maintenance Technician, and more.
  • Quality Assurance will prepare students for entry level positions as Quality Inspectors, Testers, Samplers, Quality Assurance Technicians, Quality Systems Assistants, Quality Managers, Quality Specialist, Quality Analyst, and more.
$$$ The following Workforce Education funding programs support Aerospace pathways at Green River: BFET, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst.

Oct 30, 2012

Counseling Services Q and A

Today's post features a brief Q and A with Monica Clark, Counseling Adjunct Faculty Member extraordinaire at Green River. She'll be giving us an overview of counseling services available at the college.

Monica Clark, Counselor
Hi Monica. To start, what can you tell us about the types of counseling services available to students at Green River?

Monica: Counseling Services provides free and confidential short-term personal counseling to any enrolled student at Green River Community College. We work with students to provide support around any challenges or concerns that are preventing them from doing their best in school and / or feeling their best. We can help students deal with personal problems and situational crises, gain coping and stress management skills, improve self-esteem, decrease anxiety and depressed mood, and learn new relationship skills, adjust to college life, and reach their personal and academic goals. 

If a student feels like (s)he needs to speak with a counselor, what is the first step?

Monica: Counseling Services is open Monday through Friday from 9:00-4:00 pm. Students can either call 253-833-9111 ext 2460, email at chs@greenriver.edu, or visit in person (LC building, room 231) to make an appointment. 

Can students drop in for walk-in counseling services?

Monica: We have drop-in hours for students on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 12:00-1:00 pm, although it is first come first serve so there is no guarantee that a counselor will be available. If a student needs to be seen immediately, they can come in and we will certainly make an effort to see them.

Are there any other counseling service updates that you would like to share?

Monica: Every quarter we do a week of personal development workshops for any student to attend on topics such as study skills, stress management, healthy relationships and test anxiety. We typically do these workshops the third week of each quarter, although we also offer a couple of these workshops at the Kent Station campus later in the quarter.

Oct 11, 2012

Master Achiever Center (MAC)

Cammie Ochoa, MAC Specialist
Today's blog post features a Q and A with Cammie Ochoa, Green River Community College's resident MAC Specialist. She'll be talking about services available through the college's Master Achiever Center.

Hi Cammie. Welcome to the blog. To start, can you give us a short overview of the Master Achiever Center?

Cammie: The Master Achiever Center strives to provide Basic Skills students with resources and academic advising in order to support them in reaching their educational and career goals.

What services does the MAC offer?

Cammie: A wide variety of services are offered in the MAC. We support students with identifying and defining their educational and / or career goals. In addition, we assist students in mapping out their specific certificate or degree courses and selecting classes to take each quarter. Another unique service we offer relates to finding an appropriate funding source to pay for school. This can be a very challenging task for many students, but we are here to help take students through each step and make sure they have funding in place. The MAC also offers a number of helpful workshops throughout the quarter, including the Tutoring and Resources Orientation, COMPASS Preparation Workshop, and the Scholarship Search Workshop.

Who is eligible to receive MAC services?

Cammie: The MAC serves students enrolled in Basic Skills. These are students taking ESOL, GED, ABE or I-BEST classes. Each quarter, we make presentations in these classes and invite students to make an appointment and utilize MAC services.

Are there any other highlights about the MAC that you would like to share?

The Master Achiever Center Team
Cammie: The MAC is a fairly new department on campus - we've only been open for just over a year! Developing the MAC from the ground up has allowed us to create processes and procedures which really take into consideration the needs of our Basic Skills students. We have been able to try things and make adjustments as needed depending on our results. It's an exciting time to work in the MAC! Recently, we added additional staff to support the MAC's expansion. We have a full-time AmeriCorps member to support our MAC Peer Mentoring Program and a part-time Advisor / Specialist to provide additional advising support at our Kent Campus. With these additions, we will be able to serve more Basic Skills students, providing them with guidance and support in reaching their educational and career goals.
Questions? You can reach Cammie by phone at 253-833-9111 ext. 2016, or by email at cochoa@greenriver.edu.

Sep 13, 2012

Check Out Kent Campus!

Cecilia Adam, Educational Planner
Today's post features a brief Q and A with Cecilia Adam, educational planner extraordinaire. She'll be discussing services available at Green River Community College's Kent Station Campus. If you haven't checked out the Kent Campus before, you should swing by. Located in the heart of bustling Kent Station, the Kent Campus offers a broad range of classes and services to Green River students.

Hi Cecilia. Thanks for joining us. Can you give us a broad overview of the types of classes offered at the Kent Campus?

Cecilia: The Green River Community College Kent Campus offers credit classes for transfer and professional technical degrees, as well as classes for ESOL and GED. In addition, the Kent Campus offers Continuing Education classes in business, computers and technology, contract training, no-cost small business counseuling, job skills training, and professional education.

Since Workforce Education students typically enroll in vocational pathways, can you tell us specifically what professional technical-related classes are offered at the Kent Campus?

Cecilia: Professional technical students who are studying Business Management can complete all of the course work towards that degree at the Kent Campus. The Kent Campus also offers many of the classes toward the following professional technical degrees or certificates: Accounting, Administrative Assistant, Business Application Specialist, Medical Office Assistant, Early Childhood Education, and the pre-requisite classes for Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Nursing.

Why choose the Kent Campus?

Cecilia: The Kent Campus offers a small and friendly atmosphere. Most classes are 20 - 25 students. Parking is plentiful and it is easy access to the Sounder train, buses, and freeways. The Kent Campus offers classes on a block schedule (Monday / Wednesday or Tuesday / Thursday) in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Finally, Kent Campus is close to great restaurants and shopping at Kent Station!

Kent Campus, located in bustling Kent Station

What services can students access at the Kent Campus?

Cecilia: The Kent Campus has many of the same student services as the Auburn main campus. Students can take the COMPASS assessment, meet with an educational planner, and attend a Student Orientation Advising and Registration session, all at the Kent Campus. Workforce Education coordinators are here on Mondays and Thursdays, too, to meet with students. The bookstore is at the Kent Campus the first week of each quarter. There's a spacious computer lab and library books can be ordered online and sent over from Holman Library. In addition, Kent Campus offers monthly information sessions for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Nursing programs, as well as sessions that cover Federal Financial Aid. Each quarter, the Kent Campus offers a variety of other kinds of workshops including: Career Exploration, College Success Skills, and Applying For Scholarships. Finally, the Kent Campus also offers limited tutoring services.

For more information about the Green River Community College Kent Campus, go to: greenriver.edu/academics/courses-at-kent-campus

Aug 3, 2012

Resume Writing Q and A

Karen Brasch
Today's post features a brief Q and A with Karen Brasch, Green River's resident student employment specialist. She'll be talking about resume-writing services available on campus to students.

Hi Karen. To start, can you briefly talk about resume-writing resources on campus for students who need help in this area?

Karen: A Resume Writing Workshop is offered twice a month, one morning and one afternoon session, covering all elements of a resume and is facilitated by career staff members. All of the elements can be found at greenriver.edu/hireworks by clicking on the "Job Search Resources" tab on the right hand column of the page. You then click on each element and a drop-down menu will present the many options. The purpose of the workshop is to give you the tools to write and update your own resume. We don't write your resume for you but if you bring your resume on a USB and if time allows, we will take some time to review it.

What can a student expect when attending a resume writing workshop?

Karen: The workshop is 1 1/2 hours long, is offered twice a month and you can register for it by contacting the Welcome Center at 253-833-9111 ext 6000 or by contacting the HireWorks Center at 253-833-9111 ext 2550. The morning session is usually from 9-10:30 am and the afternoon session is from 2-3:30 pm. The locations of the sessions vary depending on room availability.

Can you recommend any web-based tools to help students in the resume-writing process?

Karen: Here are a few additional online sites to assist students:

Jul 3, 2012

Prof Tech Profile #10: Nurse Assistant

Byron Ford, Educational Planner
Today's Prof Tech Profile is on Green River's one-quarter Nurse Assistant program and features a brief Q and A with Byron Ford, Educational Planner extraordinaire for Health Occupations.

Hi Byron. Thanks for joining us on the blog. To start, can you provide readers with an overview of the Nurse Assistant program at GRCC?

Byron: A nurse assistant is one who completes an educational program and can be eligible to take an exam. Once the exam is passed the nurse assistant becomes a Certified Nurse Assistant. Certified Nurse Assistants will provide services to healthcare clients around daily living needs such as teeth and mouth care, eating, bathing, dressing, walking, and assisting out of bed and into a chair. They will also assist the healthcare client with memory / physical exercises to maintain their level of ability. They may seek and receive employment in assisted living facilities, long term care facilities, home care, and adult care centers. Applications for the Nurse Assistant program will be accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis. Once the program is full, there will be a waitlist for that quarter. Students on the waitlist that are not admitted into the program will need to re-apply for the following quarter. The program cost follows regular GRCC tuition and fees for a 12 credit load.

What type of person is a good fit for the Nurse Assistant program?

Byron: The Nurse Assistant Certification (NAC) program is ideal for students who would like short-term training that will get them started into healthcare. Although credits earned in the NAC program usually cannot transfer into most academic programs, many nursing programs in Washington State require students to have experience in healthcare and / or be a Certified Nurse Assistant. If the student wishes to do this program along with taking pre-requisites to a nursing program, (s)he should not take pre-requisites during the same quarter they are in the NAC program.

What is the first step an interested student can take to apply for the Nurse Assistant program?

Byron: The application can be found by clicking here. If there are still questions after reading through the application, the student will want to attend an information session. Information sign-ups can be found by clicking here.

$$$ FUNDING TIP! All four Workforce Education funding programs - Worker Retraining, Opportunity Grant, BFET, and WorkFirst - support the Nurse Assistant program at GRCC.

Jun 28, 2012

Career Planning Q and A

Josh Staffieri, M.S.
Here in Workforce Education, we meet lots of students who want to attend Green River, but don't know what they want to study. To make a career planning decision like this involves gathering information.

For example, students need to figure out if their strengths and interests align with a particular degree. They also need to know what kinds of jobs a given degree will prepare them for, and if those jobs pay livable wages. There are a lot of different career planning tools out there to help students find the answers they need. To talk about some of those career planning tools, please welcome Green River's resident Educational and Career Planning guru, Josh Staffieri.

Hi Josh. Welcome to the blog. Let's say we have a new student walk onto campus. She wants to train for a new occupation because her former job doesn't pay enough. She has never been to college, and doesn't know where to begin or how to go about deciding on what degree or certificate to pursue. Where's a good starting point for a student like this?

JOSH: The student has a number of options. First off, she could stop by the Career & Advising Center in LC 126 to schedule an appointment with a career planner, and to get information on a number of different career assessments that we offer here at the college (keep in mind, the folks in Workforce Education can sometimes pay for a student to take a professional career assessment).

I'd also encourage new students to review the list of GRCC's Professional Technical programs. Just like when you visit a restaurant, one has to order from the menu and the list of programs is GRCC's menu. And even if GRCC doesn't offer the type of program the student may be looking for, there are 33 other community colleges, many of which are in the area. For more information about programs at other schools, visit: CheckOutACollege.com.

What are some tools you can recommend to help students find wage information on jobs they are interested in training for?

JOSH: There are a number of great websites that provide labor market information (i.e. salary, employment outlook, educational requirements) and so choosing one is not easy. Here are a few we recommend to students:
  • O*NET Online. Provides detailed reports on different careers.
  • MyNextMove.org. Offers quick data on wages, salaries, and related employment info.
  • Careerbridge.wa.gov. Explores careers, views job trends, and helps locate educational programs throughout the state.
Are there any other career planning tools you would like to speak about?

JOSH: Aside from researching programs and jobs online, I always encourage students to first test drive their potential career. For example, before purchasing a vehicle, it's normally a good idea to test drive it. You want to ensure the vehicle works and if you're comfortable driving it. Jobs are no different! It might look like a good job (good pay, strong employment outlook) but how will you know if it's truly a good fit until you talk to someone doing the work (via information interview) or better yet, observe someone doing the work (via job shadow).

A simple way to find people performing the job you have an interest in is to ask your family and friends if they know anyone working in the type of job or related field. You would be surprised who others know that you don't. You can also enhance your networking circle through the world's largest professional social networking website, LinkedIn.com. It's free to join and gives you the opportunity to connect with literally millions of people online in a safe and professional manner.