New ‘job center’ location opened in SE Portland

For people who are out of work – for a number of reasons – there’s some new help available! Find out why lots of folks are coming to a new office on SE Foster Road …

About half of SE Works’ new space is dedicated to their clients’ use.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The organization that’s helped scores of out-of-work job seekers, called “SE Works” has been located in the building that once was the home of Mosee Appliances, since 1997 – on SE Foster Road, at SE 69th Avenue.

But this fall, they moved about 10 blocks east to 7916 SE Foster Road, to an expanded facility.

Mark White, president of the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association, and representatives of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce – Richard Kiely of Home Run Graphics, Rich Sorem from Rose City Associates, and Kevin Minkoff, CPA – come to celebrate the new and expanded offices of SE Works.

At the dedication ceremony on November 29, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz was one of many dignitaries on hand. “I’m here because I support what SE Works does. They’ve done a fabulous job with our youth and adults who are seeking work. I’ve benn looking forward to seeing the new facility, and being part of the next step in their service to our community.”

The Board Chair of the organization, Dan Stein, observed, “It’s a wonderful time for us all. I’m glad that we can celebrate such a milestone in putting together such a great resource. Over the past year, we’ve had a lot of growth, a lot of new things happening here at Southeast Works – but it’s been very exciting.  This is certainly the centerpiece of our accomplishments.”

Dan Stein, Board Chair of SE Works, says their new space is much larger and better designed than the building they’d occupied for 13 years.

Stein pointed out that they now occupy 8200 ft.² of space – about 50% larger than the old location – with 4500 ft.² dedicated for the use of their customers. “And, it’s a much better design. I have to thank our interior decorator, and also our Executive Director, Holly Whittleton. “She did a great job of laying out the space, to make it work well for us.”

Even though their dedication ceremony didn’t take place until the end of November, they’d moved into the space on October 26, Stein explained. “Since then, we’ve helped over 2,000 jobseekers who come through that door. We’ve helped them find meaningful, living-wage employment.”

Richard Sorem, of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce, points to the many programs operated by SE Works.

The President of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce, Richard Sorem, of Rose City Associates, told those assembled, “In the 13 years they’ve been in operation, it is amazing how they’ve supplied the need that exists here in the Southeast Portland community. Whither it’s getting a GED, or coming back into the workforce by getting re-trained, SE Works as been instrumental in helping people get back into a living-wage job.”

With that, a trio of SE Works clients were given the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

SE Works clients John Frey, Maria Almora, and Kayla Humphrey cut the ceremonial ribbon.

One of those snipping the ribbon, John Frey, told us why he was happy to participate. “I’ve been part of the SE Works “ReEntry Program”. They work with people like me, who have been released from prison, to transition back into society. They’ve helped me tremendously within this last year. These are fantastic people, here.”

SE Works board member Pam Olson, of Farmer’s Insurance; Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz; and the nonprofit organization’s new landlord – DJ Guild, of 6D Llc. – listen to remarks made during the dedication ceremony.

The building’s owner, DJ Guild, said that having SE Works move in as a tenant has been exciting to him. “The structure was built in the 1960s, and was the United Furniture Warehouse store. We took it, and divided it up into leasable spaces.  I was excited when SE Works approached; we put a deal together. With the help of funding from the Portland Development Commission, we were able to get them in here. In this economy, it’s a good thing.”

To learn more about SE Works, see their website: CLICK HERE to open their home page.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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