By Jennifer Ferrero, communications consultant
On Friday afternoon, two Spokane Community College students keep poking their heads into the Air Washington office. “Is she here yet?” they asked Kate’ Lyons-Holestine, transition coordinator with Air Washington. “No, she’s running a little behind,” Lyons-Holestine said about her colleague Mary Stanton, a navigator with Air Washington.
The students, men in their 30’s and 40’s, were not new to the working world, but were likely there to visit with Stanton about finding jobs following re-training programs that they’ve attended at Spokane Community College. Their demeanor indicated an urgency in reaching Stanton on the beautiful September afternoon, compounded by a packed campus of back-to-school students.
Stanton’s job with Air Washington takes her between two offices – one at WorkSource Spokane and the Air Washington office to assist job seekers with finding employment.
Lyons-Holestine’s job picks up just before Stanton gets involved. She could be called “Counselor” by the students, but her role is much more than that. She is an adviser who comes along side students looking for new careers, or their first careers following military service or even high school. Through Air Washington she’s tasked with helping students to find programs and funding.
In addition, she will come along side each student to walk their loan paperwork to the financial aid office. She will work with them through the admissions office to make sure that their schedule properly set up. She helps get them set up for admissions testing – seriously, this woman is a dream come true for any new student going into careers in aerospace and advanced manufacturing. What student wouldn’t enjoy this level of help and commitment?
Stanton’s job picks up just as the students are nearing completion in one of the aerospace and advanced manufacturing programs. She may be working with them through a referral at her office at WorkSource or they may come to her directly at Air Washington for assistance in finding employment.
Like Bill Noland, Stanton is about in the community attending Greater Spokane Incorporated meetings, serving on committees, and going to general networking meetings. Her goal? To know and understand which employers have hiring needs and to fulfill those needs.
Lyons-Holestine and Stanton often work hand-in-hand as they work out a student’s financial aid while finding them short-term or part-time employment while enrolled in school.
“This is something new and different…,” Lyons-Holestine said about the Air Washington program and the scope of their work, “but, you can see the benefit for those students that get through the program.”
Beyond training hundreds of students and supporting their enrollment and future employment, the pair follow up with graduates to talk with their employers and the students to see how it’s going.
Ultimately with Air Washington, they (and the rest of the Air Washington team) need to ensure that they are filling the pipeline for the next generation of aerospace and advanced manufacturing workers in Washington.
Stanton feels that one strong measure of success is, “Showing industry that the community colleges and WorkSource system are and will continue to be here to meet business needs.”
Find out about Veteran support through Air Washington.
Find out about why more people should explore careers in manufacturing.
See why women should consider careers in manufacturing.