If you already have a job and a place to live, you probably haven’t considered the obstacles that homeless people face when job-seeking. Clean clothes, a decent meal, safe shelter, and adequate rest are critical to making good first impressions. Homeless and discouraged after months of searching for a job, Abdurahman Salim was on the verge of giving up when he went into Airport Jobs, the Sea-Tac offices of Port Jobs.
His luck was about to change. Lisa Croslin, Airport Jobs Customer Service Representative, spotted Salim and listened to his story about Utah foster care, his journey to Seattle, moving from shelter to shelter, and struggling to find work. Lisa and the Airport Jobs team gave Salim the boost he needed to get on track to finding a job. They helped Salim find shelter, hygiene facilities and presentable clothing. They enrolled him in BFET (the Basic Food Employment and Training program). BFET offers job search support, education and skills training, and basic support services to eligible Washington State Basic Food recipients. Salim received bus tickets to help him reach potential jobs, and assistance to complete dozens of job applications.
Six years ago, Salim may not have received so much support. BFET was just getting underway and Port Jobs was one of 5 original community-based organizations ramping up to offer the innovative Washington DSHS pilot program. A key component of BFET has been tuition funding at 19 participating community and technical colleges. Eight additional colleges are expected to participate in FY2013. Other pilot program agencies continuing to offer BFET services include the Seattle Jobs Initiative, Washington Cares, Fare Start, and the YWCA.
‘You’re hired!' After much diligence and persistence, Salim was hired by Flight Services and Systems as a Passenger Service Agent. Airport Jobs staff continued to provide crucial support to ensure he kept this hard-earned opportunity. They helped him prepare for his airport security badge test (SIDA) and enrolled him in Airport University’s SuperHost® Fundamentals class. SuperHost is an industry recognized customer service training credential that earns students transferable college credit.
In addition to working at Sea-Tac, Salim hopes to continue his education at the University of Washington to major in Engineering. His immediate goal is to find permanent, low-income housing near his mosque in Rainier Beach.
Salim is grateful for the caring community of support that greeted him when he walked in the door at Airport Jobs. “The bus tickets made it possible for me to go to Airport Jobs many times and eventually find a job. And I know I can use the real-life customer service skills I learned in SuperHost at any job. Thanks to Lisa, Mergitu and the rest of the people at Airport Jobs who helped me, I’m finally on my way!”