Ellesia Wood starts her day on the computer every morning. She digs through the same websites: Craigslist, NWJobs, UW Hires, job postings at Polyclinic, Swedish, Cancer Care for All and Fred Hutchinson.
“I look, and then I apply,” Wood said. “It’s pretty much the whole day. If there isn’t anything to apply for, I’m looking at my resume. … I applied for six positions yesterday.”
Wood lives in SHA’s Harvard Court near the north end of Broadway on Capitol Hill. She’s been in SHA housing since 2009 and is constantly looking for more work.
She’s concerned about whatever SHA proposes for its rent structure, because everything is tied to workforce development and educational opportunities. Wood has been through all of that, and none of it has worked for her yet.
Wood has lots of certifications and degrees, has gone through worker retraining and is still struggling to find work. She has 11 years of medical lab experience; she is trained in phlebotomy and knows how to quarantine biological samples. She went to school to get an Associates of Applied Arts and Sciences in audio engineering and MIDI production.
And then there’s the college debt: $62,000 that ballooned from an initial $9,000 in tuition.
Workforce development won’t work for most people, she said, even with tuition support, because people still have to pay for living expenses and transportation.
“The worker retraining is fine and good, but you’re just going to have people up to their eyeballs in debt,” Wood said.
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