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Free service opens career doors

Finding a job can be a daunting process for teenagers, but local services make the pursuit easier.

Young adults can turn to their school’s career center staff for general help or seek the advice of Multi-Service Center staff for more customized assistance in landing a job and planning for the future.

Federal Way School District’s five high schools each feature a career center, district spokeswoman Diane Turner said.

There, jobs are posted and staff assist students in completing a resume or cover letter, said Carla Boone, career and college specialist at Federal Way High School. Some employers personally visit the schools and talk to students about job opportunities, she said.

Many of the teenagers Boone helps are having trouble just finding an employer willing to hire them, she said.

Companies such as Wild Waves, Safeway, Albertsons, Panera Bread and Foundation House are some places local teenagers have been able to land a part-time job, Boone said. School resource centers are helpful, but some young adults need more customized assistance.

Karisa Ridgeway, 20, has worked since she was 16, when she moved out on her own. She holds a managerial position at a local retail store, but has recently decided to pursue her General Education Development (GED) degree and find a career.

Without ample resources, such as a home computer and support, Ridgeway found herself wondering how to better herself through an affordable means.

She turned to the Multi-Service Center’s Youth Employment Services, an individualized program established in December through a $78,000 grant from United Way that serves youths 16-21 in South King County.

“It’s about connecting people to resources,” said Tricia Schug, Multi-Service Center community relations manager.

With the help of Jim Boland, family development specialist, Ridgeway has received free GED testing through the YES Program.

“He is helping me get a better picture of what I could do for my future,” Ridgeway said.

Ridgeway enjoys her job, but Boland has taught her ways to earn more money and find a career she loves.

“He’s helping me find out more about the Peace Corps and the opportunities I can have with them,” Ridgeway said.

Youth Employment Services offers young adults assistance in writing resumes, exploring careers, furthering education, practicing for interviews and identifying job skills, among other things. The YES Program also offers stress management and conflict-resolution skills.

Boland provides his services to more than 50 young adults. He encourages them to practice for job interviews, know about the company they are applying with, dress appropriately when meeting with management and follow up on submitted applications.

“The beauty of the program is people don’t have to know where they are going to come here,” Schug said. “They can be in that floundering place.”

Sometimes it only takes one meeting for Boland to aid young adults in their education and job goals. Other times, it takes a few meetings, but the service is always free, he said.

“I’m always open for a challenge,” Boland said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

Check it out:

To learn more about the YES program, call the Multi-Service center at (253) 838-6810 or visit the facility at 1230 S. 336th St. in Federal Way.

t YES program guides youth toward job market success

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