Date Posted
Jun 30, 2020

Online Q&A sessions connect local youth to available jobs

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, companies are hiring local youth. The Career Connect at Home video series helps workers find the jobs they want.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as one might expect, has exacerbated the difficulty in connecting workers to jobs in Whatcom County and throughout Washington state.

However, as the economy begins to open up, businesses are again needing to fill important positions with emerging workers. And essential businesses that never missed a beat — or, if anything, only got busier during the past few months — continue to hire workers for important positions.

Career fairs and job shadow programs have largely been on hold, but other means of filling jobs throughout the state are ongoing. And with the pandemic likely to spur dramatic changes in the workforce of the future — perhaps causing some youth to ditch four-year degrees in favor of apprenticeships and work-based learning in the trades — efforts to connect companies with workers are all the more important.

The jobs website continues to share Whatcom County positions for entry-level workers. And on a statewide level, the Career Connect Washington initiative has been holding online “Career Connect at Home” info sessions with organizations throughout Washington, including Puget Sound Energy, Alaska Airlines, Boeing, the Seattle Mariners, Committee for Children, Microsoft, MOZ, Northwest Carpenter’s Institute and many more. These question-and-answer sessions were streamed live during May and June and are now available on YouTube for viewing.

Career Connect Washington is a state initiative launched in 2017 to create work-based and academic programs for young people to explore future careers and even to earn money or college-level credit while doing so. Stakeholders include leaders from business, labor, education and government.

After discussing education and career preparation with parents, Career Connect Washington leaders learned that it can be hard for parents and students to know what jobs are available, that students need more career pathways, and that options should not be limited.

In addition to the job board, which connects local companies with entry-level workers, YESWhatcom’s partnership with the Junior Achievement Job Shadow program helps introduce youth to potential careers. As Whatcom County emerges from pandemic-related lockdowns, programs like these will be increasingly important in getting the county back to work. These programs might be on hold for now, but the plan is that they will evolve and launch again after the pandemic is behind us.

In the meantime, statewide efforts like Career Connect at Home have made available dozens of excellent and informative Q&A sessions with businesses that are hiring emergent workers. Visit the Career Connect at Home website for a list of participating employers and links to the Q&A videos.