Who’s hiring? How to change careers - and get training paid for

Lynnwood, WA — In the race to recover from the Covid19 Pandemic and recession some industries are leading the charge. KIRO 7 TV is committed to helping our region recover. That’s why we’re spending every day this week at 5:30 PM spotlighting the industries that are offering jobs now - and have the best chance for long term growth and stability.

Like thousands of others, Amanda Winkler knew she had to make a change.

And she found that changing careers is easier than ever because there are more programs with more money to offer help for people who are unemployed - and not as many people applying.

“It’s exciting but I’m a little nervous trying to find a job when I’m done,” she says. “But the field I’m going into is in such high demand I’m very hopeful.”

The end was a new beginning

In 2020, Amanda’s job at a local call center was going away. She had worked in hospitality but layoffs - including hers - framed her change to human resources.

“Through the layoff process I took on a lot of the HR roles at my company to help people. Their change, their transition just reinforced with me what I wanted to do,” says Amanda.

She hooked up with WorkSource, a Washington agency geared toward helping people re-train and find new jobs.

“And we work as a partnership to help individuals who have been laid off or unemployed and we help them with the transition to re-employment,” says Kristan Lortz, part of the Rapid Response, Layoff Support and College Workforce Connections with WorkSource King County.

Kristan says many people looking to shift don’t realize help is out there, whether it’s money, training, or even personal help like securing child care. There are many programs to navigate and they want to help people now with those steps and more.

“All statewide community and technical colleges have a worker re-training program,” says Kristan.

“Worker re-training” is just one of many programs. And if you’re getting unemployment payments, you’re likely eligible. But to find out, you’ll need to call your local WorkSource or workforce development council and a trained associate can create a plan tailored to your needs - and your goals.

Once I realized I wasn’t going to find another call center job - it took me a while to realize - and I thought what am I going to do?

—  Amanda Winkler

For Amanda Winkler, the Trade Act helped her fund school since her former company petitioned for assistance - which she received.

“I’ll have had two years of school. An AA in HR - it’s all been paid for through these fabulous resources. It’s been amazing!” says Amanda.

Training for a new career comes in all forms. It can be college, a technical certificate program, or even an apprenticeship - like the hundreds of carpenters being trained for the booming construction field at a massive facility in Dupont.

“We’re taking applications all the time. We’re definitely looking for more women to come into the trade. There’s a lot of work out here for the next couple of years,” says apprenticeship coordinator Cindy Gaudio.

“You do not have to have experience. You’re put with a journeyman carpenter who’s going to train you. You’ll have small tasks to do that meet your skill set,” says Cindy.

She did say the applications can get competitive - they’re looking for the best people. So I tried my hand at some of the skills. Cutting metal may not be in my future. But welding might!

For your next chapter, think - what’s in demand?

The pandemic shutdown sent people looking at fields where workers are in demand: healthcare, construction and technology.

“Once I realized I wasn’t going to find another call center job - it took me a while to realize - and I thought what am I going to do?” remembers Amanda Winkler.

She did her training virtually alongside her children in virtual school. And she says she’s proof help is out there.

“I’m 41 and here I am back in college,” says Amanda.

And that’s the point, says Kristan.

“The whole goal is to get you trained,” says Kristan. “Potentially give you a skills upgrade -- and to get you back into the workforce.”

Amanda will move into a human resources position. She says she’d even take her new skills back to hospitality.

Whether you’re wielding tools, working at a computer, or helping save lives, Amanda says new skills can be developed - at any age.

“Just buckle down and do it,” she says.

Find more information about training programs and get help with your job search here.

Every day at 5:30 PM this week KIRO 7 is focusing on getting you back to work. Watch on KIRO 7, your streaming device, your smart TV or the KIRO 7 App.