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Community Spotlight

Community Partner Spotlight

Port Jobs provides job access, skills training and continued education that leads to financial literacy, livable wage jobs and career advancement. Through our work in the community and with our partners, we impact the lives of thousands of King County residents each year.

We do this by assessing local needs, uniting and mobilizing community resources, building relationships and working together to move people forward in their careers.

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Happy 2024 from Port Jobs

We are reflecting with gratitude on our work with our partners in 2023, bringing new opportunities to airport workers and community jobseekers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Highlights last year include Pilot Exploration with Green River College, Aviation Maintenance Technology with South Seattle College, and Advanced Logistics with Highline College.  We look forward to the great things we will do together in 2024, including a new Ground Service Equipment Mechanic introductory class with South Seattle College and Port of Seattle, and a special project to help prepare asylum seekers for work with Partner in Employment, Asian Counseling & Referral Service, and the Congolese Integration Network.  As we move into the new calendar year, we are highlighting the essential partnerships that make our work possible.  Thank you all for working together in unified community to support life-changing career pathways in aviation employment with Port Jobs!

Port Jobs Partners Make It All Possible! Thank you for all you do and Happy New Year!

Key Workforce Development Partners

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Newly arriving Afghan refugees are being helped by local organizations including the Port of Seattle, World Relief, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the State Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance. Port Jobs stands ready to work with these and other organizations, employers, and members of the SEA Airport community to create a welcoming environment for Afghans. Washington is one of the top states where Afghans will resettle; we expect more than 3,000 Afghans to join our community by February 2022.


The Port of Seattle staff and a coordinated team of provider partners greet Afghan arrivals at the airport and begin the process of connecting them to vital resources. According to Pennie Saum, Port of Seattle Process Improvement Manager, the Port of Seattle is placing a high priority on streamlining and expediting the hiring process for Afghans who may want to work in the port economy. Bookda Gheisar, Senior Director of the Port's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, is spearheading the Port's work in coordination with Operation Allies Welcome and SEA Airport Managing Director Lance Lyttle.


Port Jobs is coordinating with multiple groups and agencies to engage and support Afghan refugees who want to work at SEA Airport. We invite resettlement organizations, community partners and Afghans to:

  • Utilize the Airport Jobs hotlist, which has open airport positions and upcoming hiring events and is available at and sent weekly to our CBO mailing list.
  • Make appointments with clients to Airport Jobs for job search assistance.

 Once they are hired, our Airport Jobs and Airport University staff will provide training to refugees who need assistance passing security badge training and testing, which is a requirement for many airport jobs.


We also turn to our large network of community allies for guidance and support. We reached out to a previous employee of Airport Jobs, Mohammad Sorush. Thinking back on his own experiences moving from Afghanistan to the United States with his wife and two young children, Mohammad offered great insights on the services that Afghans need. He said that he was fortunate, because when he arrived in2015, due to his work with USAID as a contractor and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) status, his paperwork and social security card were in place. He had an impressive portfolio that included earning a bachelor's degree in Law and Political Science, and experience working as an Assistant Professor at Herat University in Afghanistan. He also had earned an Asian Law LL.M. Master's Degree in 2010 from the University of Washington and worked for 4 years as a legal advisor from 2010-2014 for DPK Consulting and an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in Afghanistan.


Even with an advanced education and significant work experience, Mohammad said getting a job in the United States took time. He had been looking for work for two months before being introduced to Airport Jobs by Jewish Family Services; he interned with and was later hired by Port Jobs. Today Mohammad is still working at the airport and is employed as a Supervisor at the International Currency Exchange. In addition, he is working for Port Jobs to provide translation assistance so that Afghans visiting the office have ready access to information about Airport Jobs and community resources in Dari, one of the main languages spoken in Afghanistan.


When thinking about the needs of Afghans, Mohammad recommended the following: "First make sure that their housing needs are met so they have a place to call home. Second, help them access public benefits for food, cash assistance and Medicaid. Third, start working with people to get jobs. In most cases, only one person in a family will read and write in English and others in the family will need to take English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Because the Afghan culture is conservative, the idea of women going to work will be unfamiliar. My wife now works at the airport, but for Afghans this is an idea they are not used to. It will be necessary though as life in the United States is expensive and most families need two incomes. Also, because the airport has safe jobs for women, this is something that Afghan men seeking jobs will benefit from hearing and seeing firsthand."


Mohammad said Port Jobs' job search and career coaching services would be in great demand. He explained: "The employment system is so different here in the United States. In Afghanistan it is so simple. But here the application process is hard. Airport Jobs will need to provide a lot of information about job applications and help for people who need to take the airport Security Identification Display Area (SIDA) test to get hired."


Taking Mohammad's sage advice into account, Port Jobs will do everything we can to make it easier for Afghans to find out about and use our services, and the services of other organizations. To do this Airport Jobs will take a "whole family" approach to working with Afghans that consider the needs of all family members. This will include connection to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services School Impact, Health Promotion and Mental Health Programs, literacy, maritime and aviation training and food, nutrition, and clothing programs and much more.


Port Jobs has worked closely with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) since we first opened our Airport Jobs office. We want to extend a special note of gratitude to Annie Keating, who recently left IRC for her next adventure. Annie has been a vital ally with Port Jobs since 2008 when she joined IRC as an Employee Specialist. Our partnership with IRC spans many years and includes partnership through times when there were influxes of refugees and immigrants, economic downturns, reduced investments in refugee and immigrant services during the Trump administration, a pandemic and now a surge of Afghans, including humanitarian refugees.


Annie shares these parting words of advice: "Many refugee and immigrant organizations, like IRC, are in the process of building their staff capacity to meet the huge workload they now have. We all need to work together to address this challenging and exciting time to help people find jobs and address the documentation challenges that many people are facing because of their rapid exodus from Afghanistan to the United States. The airport has lots of jobs, and IRC will keep working with Port Jobs to support the transition of the people we serve to jobs in the airport economy. Also, Port Jobs may want to join IRC and others to think more about the childcare needs of families, knowing that many women will be reticent to leave their children with people who are not relatives. Though IRC is working primarily with Afghan men, we convey to families through our financial coaching the benefits of a family having two income earners in the United States economy."


Port Jobs and IRC are committed to working with families over time, and to creating pathways for them to vital services, such as the IRC community garden, afterschool tutoring and family counseling programs and to Port Jobs' Airport University career advancement and job placement assistance. Together, we welcome our new Afghan neighbors.

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When Cris Krisologo, Airport Jobs Manager, joined Port Jobs in 2014, she hit the ground running. The first employer Cris worked with was Haris Svraka, who is currently the Swissport Fueling General Manager. Port Jobs and Swissport have had a great relationship ever since.


Haris credits Port Jobs with helping Swissport meet their goal to hire fifty fuelers within a sixty-day period. Thinking back to 2014, he said, "Cris was amazing. She made it seem so simple. I told her, these are our hiring needs and she said, come back in two weeks. Well – long story short she found fifty qualified applicants and together we met Swissport's timeline for ramping up our workforce to meet the growing need we had for fuelers."


The working partnership continues today. Haris said, "I turn to Cris for qualified workers, and we work side by side at hiring events, job fairs and other activities." Cris and Haris are a formidable and productive team. Since 2015, Port Jobs job placement data shows that 209 fuelers have been hired by Swissport.


Haris said the relationship Swissport has with Port Jobs continues to be strong. He explained, "Swissport has the majority of fueling contracts at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Please tell everyone! We have a lot of job openings and are on a hiring and growth cycle now since passenger traffic is up at the airport. And we are a great place to work." He added that jobs at Swissport offer a good starting wage, and frequent promotions. He said, "Starting wages for fuelers are now $19.50 an hour and we are offering hiring bonuses of $1,500 and a wage increase after six months. Fuelers become part of the Teamster's Local Union No. 174 which is another plus."


He also reported that Swissport offers a welcoming, family environment for employees. Haris added, "I do everything I can to support the career goals and aspirations of workers, and regularly share flyers about the Airport University classes that Port Jobs offers. Four of our employees are in their ten-week Introduction to Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) class right now. After they graduate, they will have an opportunity to enroll in the two-year AMT class at South Seattle College."


Haris knows this could mean that good employees at his company might move on to different careers, and he supports their efforts to advance. He even made it possible for one of his employees to take the AMT class by switching their work hours to accommodate the class schedule.


Haris said he offered to connect the Swissport AMT students to his broad network of SEA colleagues in the future when they are ready to make this career transition. He added, "Swissport is a large international company. After AMT school there is an opportunity to be placed in one of Swissport Aircraft Maintenance locations as a mechanic." He reported that some employees stay working at Swissport while they attend school. Two recent employees include a fueler who graduated from law school, and a fueler who became a police officer.


Haris is an inspiration. He has come a long way since his arrival in 1999 from Bosnia, which he described was a war-torn country. He has seen firsthand the power of hard work and persistence. He worked briefly at Swissport in 2000, and steadily there since 2004. His own career trajectory at the airport included progressing from a ramp agent to a fueler, lead, supervisor, manager, operations manager, and assistant manager to his current role as Fueler General Manager. Haris said, "Swissport has many opportunities to get wage increases and job promotions. Many of our employees get promoted."


Haris described the Swissport/Port Jobs working relationship as a perfect example of an upskill/backfill partnership. He said, "Port Jobs is a resource for us to backfill positions, and to upskill workers. We also refer jobseekers to Port Jobs if we don't have job openings that meet their interests and skills."


Cris and Haris act as a dynamic team.


Haris said, "We support Port Jobs, and Port Jobs supports Swissport." Cris concurred, adding, "Haris is a wonderful employer partner who truly cares about his company and his team of workers."

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Port Jobs is always looking for ways to work with community partners and employers to remove the structural inequities which stand in the way of the career access and success of community members. When Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) approached us, we were honored to support their employer outreach and engagement work by leveraging our employer relationships at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), and our Airport Jobs/Airport University career coaching and advancement services.


BEST is a recipient of the Port of Seattle Economic Recovery Grant; their goal is to deliver employment readiness training and support to employees in Port-related industries and create employment opportunities for human trafficking survivors. To accelerate this effort, our Airport Jobs Manager drew upon Port Jobs’ deep relationships with employers to promote the BEST Stress, Trauma and Resiliency (STR) training to over 60 employers. “At the beginning of this project, Port Jobs opened their rolodex to us and made warm introductions on our behalf to their contacts. This made creating a network of employers in Port-related industries a much smoother process than if we had to try and build these relationships from scratch,” said Mar Brettmann, the CEO and Executive Director of BEST.


This effort resulted in five SEA employers attending the STR training which BEST offers monthly to South King County managers and team leaders who are interested in preventing human trafficking and creating pathways for employment for survivors. Attendees learn how to foster a supportive work environment and successfully navigate difficult conversations with employees to promote their ability to bounce back. A handful of employers who attended the training are now engaged in a partnership with BEST that will ensure that human trafficking survivors referred by BEST community-based partners will be promised an interview. Those who get hired will have access to the support of managers who have received BEST training.


SEA employers who are signing on to be BEST employer partners include HMSHost, the 2020 Inclusion Champion Award recipient, and VIP Hospitality, which is well-known for its customer-centric and personal fulfillment training, and for implementing strategies that value individual people. In fact, VIP Hospitality has included BEST as a trusted partner on their web site.


Port Jobs staff who took the BEST training were grateful for the opportunity. Heather Worthley, Executive Director of Port Jobs said, “BEST exemplifies the best of non-profit work; their training brings essential understanding to hundreds of companies and workers, and their paid internships benefit employers and workers while providing much-needed opportunities to survivors.” Port Jobs will be a resource to the BEST network of community-based organizations, providing career guidance and employer advocacy. Port Jobs will also work with human trafficking survivors to create career plans which embed the resources of BEST partner organizations and continue to promote BEST to SEA managers and companies. BEST and Port Jobs look forward to a lasting partnership.


BEST strategies including partnering with employers throughout South King County. For more information about BEST, visit If you have any further questions about BEST, please email

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ACRS and Port Jobs have a long history of working together. Since 2015, community members enrolled in the ACRS Ready to Work program have visited Airport Jobs office at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). During these visits, ACRS staff and students see airport workers in action, and tour areas of the airport where people are employed in retail, baggage, ticketing, janitorial, security, and other aviation occupations.


"When we take clients from our Ready to Work class to the airport, they learn about how to do resumes and apply for jobs. They see people who look like themselves – people who are working in different types of airport jobs who also may be English Language learners. This has a huge impact on their vision of what employment opportunities they may pursue." ACRS Employment Case Manager Getu Hunde


Airport Jobs Manager Cris Krisologo sends the Airport Jobs weekly employment Hotlist to ACRS. She also provides customized job search support to ACRS clients and informs ACRS staff about upcoming employer recruitment events. ACRS Employment Case Manager has transported clients to the Airport Jobs office to meet with FEDEX, Swissport and Airport Terminal Services recruiters. These efforts shine a beacon on the many talents that ACRS clients bring to the airport labor force. Cris reports that ACRS clients have been hired by Swissport USA for international airline passenger service agents' jobs because of their language skills.


Airport Jobs also turns to ACRS for assistance, and refers clients to the ACRS youth, English-as-a-Second Language (ESL), health, citizenship, and legal and immigration programs. One ACRS client found a job through Airport Jobs office as a baggage handler and took an Airport University class; she attributed her employment success to the combination of services she received from Port Jobs and ACRS. She reported that the information Port Jobs gave her about the ACRS Senior Center and food programs was instrumental to her being able to keep her job because she knew her elderly grandmother had a support network; without this connection, this airport worker would have been forced to quit her job in order to care for her grandmother.


ACRS and Port Jobs are also partnering on a SEA Airport Computer Basics Class. When ACRS received funding from the Port of Seattle to provide workforce development services to workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex Olins, ACRS Director of Employment & Citizenship Service, reached out to Port Jobs to assist in this work. Airport University staff took a lead in recruiting students to the class, which will provide current and laid-off airport employees with foundational computer skills. Port Jobs opened its SEA-based Airport University classroom to ACRS for the eight-week course which ACRS agreed to offer in-person as well as hybrid/remote. The class kicked off on June 30th, with 15 students attending virtually and in person. During the quarter, Port Jobs staff will make a presentation to students about Airport Jobs and Airport University services. The shared efforts of Port Jobs and ACRS benefit both organizations, stretching their resources, horizon dreams and opportunities to innovate.

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Sisto Piña, Dean of College and Career Success at the Highline School District's Puget Sound Skills Center (PSSC) said, "I tell our students, the Port economy is like a city that offers a multitude of career opportunities. I encourage them to think about all the different types of jobs a person can get on a cruise ship or at an airport, and how these venues need to hire and employ people with a variety of different skill sets." When PSSC students graduate from high school many have already earned college credits as they have over 350 credits available to them through local colleges. For example, students enrolled in the Aeronautical Science Pathway program, which is designed for juniors and seniors who want to become professional pilots or work in aviation management fields can apply sixty college credits earned in high school to the Applied Science degree in Aeronautical Science at Green River College.


Sisto and Cris Krisologo, Manager of the Airport Jobs office located at Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA) have a lot in common. Both are dream weavers and matchmakers, dedicated to helping students achieve their career goals. Both see firsthand that students thrive when given opportunities to build technical skills, learn about the labor market and connect with employers.


Both know too that building career crosswalk opportunities for students enrolled in PSCC Culinary Arts, Fire & Emergency Services, Automotive Technology and Maritime Science Technology programs to aviation related job also makes sense. When thinking about the employment options for PSSC students Sisto said, "I convey that there are many windows. I caution students to not get tunnel vision. I say, for example, that even if you trained at PSSC to be an automotive technician you might be seen as a desirable candidate by Boeing because you have already demonstrated your mechanical aptitude."


Both organizations believe their partnership increases the funnel of qualified applicants to the port economy. Port Jobs routinely sends the Airport Jobs Employment Hotlist to PSSC so that students become familiar with the types of jobs opened in the labor market. Airport Jobs staff also meet with PSSC students at community based job fairs, and share information that challenges their preconceptions of where they might work. At some of these events they introduce students to employers and some students get hired on the spot. In addition, Airport Jobs invites PSSC students to special events. For example, students enrolled in the PSSC Fashion and Marketing attended Port Jobs retail workshops.


Airport Jobs staff work with PSSC graduates to craft competitive job applications, and career plans. They also invite students who enter employment at the airport to enroll in Airport University classes, and to apply for Port Jobs Alaska Airlines/Airport University scholarships. In the past five years, nineteen scholarships have been awarded to SEA incumbent workers and used for aviation programs at Green River College.


The PSSC partnership with Port Jobs benefits students and the port economy, and extends the reach, duration and influence of both organizations. Sisto said that, "Partnerships like this expand students' notion of the big picture - of where they fit in, and where they contribute to the workforce."