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SE Works expands "Worksource" Center on Foster Road

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - SE Works Executive Director Holly Whittleton, Board Chair Daniel J. Stein, and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, joined recently to headline the official grand opening of the new Worksource Center.Over three years ago, on November 29, 2010, “SE Works” cut the ribbon to open their new facilities at 7916 S.E. Foster Road. Now, a major expansion has taken place relating to its job-related services.

SE Works, a nonprofit agency offering a wide range of services both to job seekers and to employers, had another ribbon cutting open house earlier this year – at the same street address.

“We’ve increased our space here, from our original 2,500 square feet to 25,000 square feet,” said Executive Director Holly Whittleton, as a crowd gathered in the side lobby. “This means we’ve gone from having one classroom to having eleven classrooms!”

The expanded space is important to their mission, Whittleton told THE BEE, “Because we served about 5,800 customers last year, on about 36,000 occasions. We could have served more; we needed more room. It is like, ‘If you build it they'll come’ – and they are already coming in droves. There are a lot of people who need work.”

SE Works Board Chair Daniel J. Stein, of Stersh Investments, welcomed a throng of guests to the open house. “Our employees come here every morning, to help their fellow human beings. They do this with integrity and caring. They want to make sure that everyone who comes to our front door, leaves this place and finds a better life. We thank our staff for their dedication.”

The officials said that the Portland Development Commission has been “investing” in SE Works since 2010, providing $163,000 for them to develop and expand their center, called “Worksource Portland Metro Southeast”.

Stein then introduced Mayor Charlie Hales. “I congratulate you on your accomplishments. This open house leads me to see three principles, and they all start with the letter ‘P’ – People, Place, and Partnerships.

“It’s finding out how we give individual people access, language ability, translation, and ability to find work – you do that every day, and have a lot of partners in doing it,” he said.

“The Portland Development Commission invests in successful programs and partnerships like yours, here in Southeast Portland, raising the prosperity in this part of the city. Partnerships ... that is so visible in what we see here. It is a unique strength of Portland, that we are comfortable with nonprofit (organizations) coupling together to do more with the same resources.”

Hales concluded, “This is a validation not only for your organization, but for the larger philosophy of what we’re trying to do. Thank you. I say ‘bravo – and more to come’.”

With a snip of the giant HYPERLINK "www.eastportlandchamberofcommerce.com/" East Portland Chamber of Commerce ceremonial scissors, the ribbon was cut, dedicating this new employment resource.

Find out more at the official SE Works website: HYPERLINK "www.seworks.org/index.php" www.seworks.org.