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Local libraries to offer free workshops for job seekers

  • Written by Deborah Stone
During these challenging economic times, securing gainful employment can be a struggle.

Whether you’re new to the workforce, returning to it after a hiatus or in the midst of a midlife career change, knowledge of effective job search strategies is essential.

The King County Library System, in partnership with WorkSource and South Seattle Community College WorkSource, wants to help.

Once again, these organizations are offering a series of free programs at local libraries aimed at providing assistance to job seekers of all ages.

“We started doing this in 2010,” explains Jeff Kempe, adult services coordinator for the King County Library System. “The series has run every spring and fall and the sessions have been very well received and attended.”

He notes that on average the sessions attract about a dozen participants, but some have had as high as 50, depending on the site and subject.

In “The New Job Search in the New Economy,” for example, participants learn how to shift their approach to match the current employment environment with topics to include adjusting to the reality of the contemporary labor market, developing a work plan for a successful job search, networking, fundamentals of preparing a resume, where to find free quality career counseling, information on the top paying professions, acing the job interview and where to find other job search resources.

To craft a resume that will get past the “10 second screen,” there’s Effective Resumes for the New Job Search,” a hands-on workshop that uncovers the keys to a successful resume.

Those interested in learning more about networking will find “Effective Networking for Employment” chockfull of useful information regarding ways to develop a network “system,” the four core elements of networking information exchange, commonalties and relationships.

To make the most of your interview session, there’s “Conducting Effective Interview Conversations in the New Economy,” a program designed to enhance interview preparation and performance.

The session will focus on answering behavior-based questions, connecting your values with the company culture and employing marketing skills to make a great first impression.

In “Mid-life Career Changing in the New Economy,” experts analyze and discuss the problem of “Ageism,” delving into how age discrimination affects the job search and what you can do to empower yourself and find meaningful work in this difficult employment market.

Special attention is paid to mid-life career changes and the use of technology as a job search tool.

Workshops are led by a panel of presenters to include Duncan G. Burgess, director of WorkSource Affiliate at South Seattle Community College; Tanner Phillips, employment and training specialist for WorkSource Affiliate of South Seattle Community College and Paco Mesch, Workforce coordinator for South Seattle Community College.

In addition to the WorkSource programs, Kempe also notes that the King County Library System’s “Look to Your Library” is a great resource site for job seekers, as well as for those in need of financial tools.

“Our guide has been visited over 4,500 times this year,” he says. “In addition, we offer a service called Adult Career Center, through which library card holders can submit their resumes online for review from 2 p.m. – midnight, seven days a week. And last October, we began hosting job clubs within our system. The Renton Library Job Club, which is run by Willie Gregory from Renton WorkSource, has grown to 15 members and serves as a model for what we want to accomplish with the other groups. We recently started one in Bothell.” He adds, “It’s all about meeting a community need.”

Upcoming WorkSource Programs at Woodinville Library will be held on June 6 (“The New Job Search in the New Economy”), June 13 (“Effective Resumes for the New Job Search”), June 20 (“Conducting Effective Interview Conversations in the New Economy”), June 26 (“Effective Networking for Employment”) and June 27 (“Mid-life Career Changing in the New Economy”).

For more information, contact the Woodinville Library at (425) 788-0733.

A warm heart and a passion for helping leads to Sparkle Club at TJH

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Peer Coach
Kamy Quackenbush, a 9th grade peer coach, is pictured in the middle of the group of special needs students who participate in the Sparkle Club that Quackenbush started.
Kamy Quackenbush is an outgoing teen with a large social circle. Among her many friends are several kids with special needs, who she met while working as a ninth grade peer coach at Timbercrest Junior High.Quackenbush will tell you that she doesn’t differentiate when it comes to any of her friends.

She says, “Friends are friends to me. Everyone is unique and we all have our challenges, but we’re all basically typical teenagers who just like to hang out with each other and have fun.”

As a peer coach, the teen, under the supervision of TJH teacher Brandi Doyle, accompanied students from Doyle’s functional skills and academic program to P.E. and drama classes. There, she helped them to participate in class activities, as well as assisted in facilitating their interaction with the other students.

“Being a peer coach is so much fun,” comments Quackenbush. “I did it because I basically wanted to make new friends. That was really my main motivation.” She adds, “As a peer coach, you don’t act or pretend to be a teacher or anything like that. The best way I can explain it is that you’re a friend who’s just helping a friend.”

Prior to her involvement as a peer coach at TJH, the teen had had some experience with individuals with special needs.

In elementary school, she would often socialize and play games with some of the special needs kids during lunch. She also has a great aunt with Down’s syndrome, so she understands the need to exercise patience when interacting with others who have a varying array of mental, physical and/or emotional challenges. “Kamy is a wonderful student,” comments Doyle. “She is kind and caring, and she has an amazing ability to include, explain and encourage my students. She is so selfless, with such a warm heart and her passion for helping goes above and beyond. We celebrate her each day.”

Doyle adds, “In addition to her work as a peer coach, Kamy also started a spirit club here at Timbercrest for both students with disabilities and their peers. Her vision was to include all kids, so she created a proposal for our ASB and formed ‘Sparkle Club.’

Each week, she planned different activities to encourage school spirit and inclusion. It’s been extremely successful because of her dedication and compassion.”

Doyle explains that for most of her students, Sparkle Club is their first club involvement at the school. She notes that they look forward to it each week.

The idea arose when Quackenbush read an article about a school that started a cheer club for girls with special needs. “We don’t have a cheer squad at Timbercrest,” explains the teen, “so I worked with the principal and vice principal here to adapt the idea for our school. I just wanted to make sure we included both girls and boys because there are more boys than girls with special needs at our junior high.”

As the aim of the club was inclusion, Quackenbush made sure to advertise the meetings on the school’s reader board and in the daily announcements in order to get participation from as many kids in the student body as possible. On average, 10 special needs students and an equal number of their peers came to the meetings.

“We played board games, did arts and crafts projects and just hung out with each other,” says the teen. “For example, for Martin Luther King’s birthday, we made clouds and then filled them in with expressions of our dreams. We made maracas for Cinco de Mayo and we also decorated boxes to fill with mementos from our spring break.”

Quackenbush notes that the feedback from participants has been very positive. Both the students with special needs and their peers have expressed how much fun they have had in the club.

She comments, “It’s been a good opportunity for everyone to get to know each other better.”

In the process, Quackenbush gained valuable leadership and organizational skills. But, most importantly, she gained new friends. The teen, who will attend WHS next fall, plans to continue her work as a peer coach. She is hopeful that incoming eighth and ninth graders at TJH will keep the Sparkle Club going and will offer her help to them if needed.

“My two passions in life are drama and working with special populations,” says Quackenbush. “I’d love a career as a professional actor, but I’d also like to be a special ed. teacher and maybe one day create a nonprofit organization for kids with special needs. It would be great if I could do both.”

Classic Corner - May 28, 2012

  • Written by Tom Berg

bills_spriteA Tale of Two Bugeyes. I recently had the pleasure of meeting 2 car guys who both owned Austin Healy Sprites, commonly known as bugeyes in the U.S. and frogeyes in England where they were made.  Their headlights stick out of the hood much like the bulging eyes of a bug or frog, thus the nickname. They are a very low, lightweight, underpowered (40some horsepower) sports car from the late 50s and early 60s and a lot of fun to drive on nice days. They have convertible soft tops and side curtains instead of windows (like the first Corvettes).  I sat in one and it was quite roomy but certainly difficult to get in and out of since you are practically sitting on the ground.

My friend (and client) Dave has had his bugeye for at least 25 years. It was built in early 1958 and thus one of the first of this model.  He has totally re-built the entire car to original condition.  He even custom built a rotisserie for the car to make it easier to work on during the renovation.  For those of you who are asking “what’s a car rotisserie?” it’s a device that works just like your barbeque rotisserie but holds the car so you can just spin it around to work on whatever area you want — sure beats crawling under the car but normally only the biggest shops would have one.  Dave is one of those guys who could do anything and has a couple of other cool classic cars that prove it. Dave re-built essentially everything in this car over a period of many years and it’s never been driven in the rain. With a heavy heart, he has finally decided to sell his little Bugeye.

One of my dedicated readers referred me to another bugeye owner, Bill, who just happens to have lived just down the street from me for the last 25 years.  We had never met but a common interest brought us together.  He owns a 1960 Bugeye Sprite that he first saw in 1967!  His friend’s dad owned it and he and his son had planned for decades to rebuild the car together but never quite got around to it.  Bill had made it known over the years that he would like to buy the car but the owner couldn’t quite let it go. When the owner passed away, the son remembered Dave and offered to sell it to him. That was a year and a half ago and happened to be the same time that Bill retired, so he finally got the car of his dreams and had the time to totally dismantle the car and rebuild it to better than new.  Bill made a few minor changes from original such as upgraded wheels which would have been available in the 60s and took 6 months to get.  He also upgraded to a 5 speed transmission to make it a better car for today’s highways.  In England in the 60s there were very few opportunities to go fast. The detail work that Bill put into this car is amazing.  He even powder coated the hose clamps.  The changes Bill made to this car would not even be noticeable to the average car nut, and of course he kept all the original parts in case someone wanted to change it back to the original specifications.  I met Bill recently just after he finished this car and it sounds like he’s ready to do it again!  I even gave him Dave’s number because he expressed an interest in buying his Bugeye..

This week marks for me the beginning of the car show season.

I’ll be out at the Big Rock Car Show on Saturday the 2nd with my 38 Ford pickup and, sun permitting, my 48 Studebaker convertible.  Please stop by and say Hi.

Woodinville company is a superstar of innovative bicycle products

  • Written by Deborah Stone
SportsWoorks Tofino
Courtesy Photo. The company’s new No Scratch Bike Rack.
When you’ve lived in a community a long time, you might think you’re pretty clued in on the businesses that exist in the area. It’s always a surprise then to discover a company that has been around for a few decades and yet somehow has escaped your radar. Take Sportworks Northwest, for example, a business that has called Woodinville home since 1990. The company, which is known for designing and manufacturing innovative bicycle products, was founded by Woodinville residents and avid cyclists, Michael and Sandi Reeves.

Back when it began, Sportworks was a contract manufacturing facility working primarily with SCOTT USA Bikes to make handlebars, forks and suspension forks for road and mountain bikes.

Then in 1993, the company went off on its own after being awarded a contract by King County Metro to design and manufacture transit bike racks.

“This was the first product of its kind for buses,” explains Derek Sanden, V.P. of Sales and Marketing for Sportworks. “And King County Metro was the first transit system in the U.S. to have them on their fleet.”

The company started growing little by little and as bike ridership increased, more municipalities across the country needed the special racks for their buses.

Today, Sportworks owns 95 percent of the market for this product.

“Sportworks transit racks are used by 500 municipalities throughout North America and carry over one million bicycles per month,” says Sanden.

“The bike rack has become an essential piece of equipment for buses and we make ten different styles, which we market and sell to transit agencies and municipalities.” This month, the company is getting ready to launch a line of bike parking products featuring the new No Scratch Bike Rack. Blending a durable protective bumper, modern design and high quality materials, this revolutionary bike rack is ideal for colleges, universities, small businesses, office and residential buildings, sports arenas and other urban settings where bicycles are utilized.

“We have two styles of the rack,” comments Sanden. “There’s the standard-sized Tofino and then there’s a smaller version, the Westport. And they can be customized with a sign plate for a logo, name or image.”

He adds, “What’s great is that the rack has a fully-integrated bumper. It’s durable and non-abrasive and will protect bikes from scratches and other damage.”

Sanden notes that the line took about a year to develop and was designed to meet the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals’ Bicycle Parking Guidelines. He also points out that all of Sportworks’ bike racks are “Red List” compliant, meeting the material sourcing criteria of the Living Building Challenge and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification programs for new and existing buildings.

The company’s products are produced using post-industrial recycled materials and non-toxic finishes. “We design and manufacture everything right here in our 25,000-square-foot facility in Woodinville,” says Sanden.

“And every product has been tested and proven to last.” Sportworks currently has 70 employees. Its growth, according to Sanden, has been steady. “We’ve been fortunate that the economic pull-backs have had minimal impact on us,” he adds. “We’ve managed to remain relatively stable. What’s helped us is the federal assistance money that has been available for transit authorities to buy bike racks. And then the rising fuel prices have caused some people to look for alternative modes of transportation to get to work.” Sanden believes that as bikes increase in usage, the racks will be in major demand.

For more information about Sportworks Northwest and its products: www.sportworks.com.

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NSD teacher is grand-prize winner

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

mike biodiesel
Courtesy photo. Mike Wierusz
BOTHELL – Northshore School District’s sustainable engineering and design teacher Mike Wierusz is the grand-prize winner of the Washington Chapter of Council of Educational Facilities Planners International (CEFPI) 2011-12 Innovative Educator Award. Wierusz received the $2,000 grand prize for the mobile learning lab his sustainable engineering and design class is completing. The Innovative Educator Award recognizes Washington state teachers who make creative use of physical space to enhance students’ learning.

“Mike’s steadfast leadership teaching students and staff about sustainable engineering and design and about creating sustainable ‘green’ environments has been incredible,” said Secondary Academy for Success Principal Vicki Puckett. “He has provided support to his colleagues to integrate ‘green’ into the curricula at SAS. As a result students are much more aware and educated about current and future needs of our environment because of Mike’s efforts.”

The mobile learning lab is a student-driven project that will enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy in the Northshore School District. Through the use of interactive hands-on displays and an in-class wind lab, high school students will teach elementary students about energy. And, elementary students will walk away from the experience with a greater appreciation for the application of science and math to solve real world problems.

“My goal with the mobile lab is to make it a student-led endeavor that extends the sustainability concepts learned in my lab beyond the four walls that define my room,” said Wierusz.  “A big project like this is complex and challenging for all involved, but the rewards far outweigh any hurdles we face along the way.”

Final construction of the mobile learning lab will begin in late May and is projected to start serving elementary schools in spring 2013.