Zoe Melendez showed up to her first day of school with no hair, no fingernails and no toenails. She had just been laid off from her job in a career she had been a part of for more than 25 years and was battling breast cancer.
“Everything was black. I had no eyelashes and no eyebrows. But I was accepted by my new family (at Lake Washington Institute of Technology) and made it through,” Melendez said.
The mother of two was one of three women who shared their story at EvergreenHealth hospital in Kirkland. All three told of how Worksource of King County helped them to find a new career.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray visited the hospital to hear from the women, administration, lab technicians and a Bellevue College dean about how the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act has benefited those seeking new employment in the medical field.
The senator’s visit was also to help her gain perspective for a new piece of bipartisan legislation she is crafting with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Effective Apprenticeships Rebuild National Skills (EARNS) Act.
“I seek out people who want to get things done and are willing to work in bipartisan ways,” Murray said. “Getting people trained is bipartisan.”
The legislation is meant to raise awareness of registered apprenticeships, incentivize companies to start and expand their programs, help increase the number of highly-skilled workers in growing industries, and encourage stronger partnerships between employers, colleges and universities, and the workforce development systems.