Deaf man among those helped at job fair

TULALIP — Jacob Simmons, 30, boasts a significant amount of experience in the warehouse and manufacturing sectors, but job-hunting is complicated because he's deaf.

Jacob Simmons looks over a brochure with his dad Roger.

Jacob Simmons looks over a brochure with his dad Roger.

TULALIP — Jacob Simmons, 30, boasts a significant amount of experience in the warehouse and manufacturing sectors, but job-hunting is complicated because he’s deaf.

Simmons came from Langley to check out the Snohomish County Career Fair at the Tulalip Resort Casino April 12.

Accompanied by his father, Roger, as well as an interpreter, Simmons submitted his resume to employer booths including Pacific Seafood, where production supervisor Fermin Lopez touted his company’s warehouse, production, delivery and sales positions.

“Obviously, the need to communicate in sign language would present challenges, but if he’s a qualified candidate, we can figure it out,” Lopez said, after receiving an estimated 30 resumes in the fair’s first hour and a half. “Honestly, the most-important traits are a good attitude and a willingness to learn.”

Lopez noted that Pacific Seafood prefers to promote from within and is gearing up to expand from 25,000- to 80,000-square feet, so the company’s job opportunities will grow.

Roger cited UPS as a previous job where Simmons did well.

“He needs a job where he can be shown what to do, then left on his own to do it,” Roger said. “The less communication is required, the better.”

Through his interpreter, Simmons emphasized that he’s willing to move to wherever the work might be.

“I wish there were more warehouse and welding positions at this fair, but I’ve made some pretty good connections so far,” he signed.

By contrast, Scott Shipley and Bernie Von Herbulis are both from Marysville and looking to explore midlife career changes.

Von Herbulis is a branch manager with Orkin who’s interested in a lateral move, or possibly even trading up.

“After twenty-five years, I’m as vested as it gets, but I’ve got time enough to do it all over again,” Von Herbulis said.

While Von Herbulis was also intrigued by Pacific Seafood, as well as Home Depot, he agreed with Shipley that schools and law enforcement were perhaps over-represented.

“I know police departments are fighting for hires, but with my size, I’d make too easy a target,” Von Herbulis said.

Shipley has school-age children and experience in the PTA, so he’s considering a position with one of the schools, possibly custodial.

Although the law enforcement booths included city police departments, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol, the representatives of U.S. Customs and Border Protection stood out enough to attract attention.

Border patrol agent David Whipple was accompanied by customs first line supervisor Christian Danks in pitching the opportunities that their job field offers.

“We’ll take you with no college degree and teach you to shoot, drive, arrest and defend yourself like any law enforcement agency would,” Whipple told Kenzie Tiernan, whose fiancé is in the military. “Most of our positions are at the southern border, so you will need to relocate, but after a couple of years, you’re making six figures. You’re making a good living with good retirement benefits, and you can transfer to other duty stations when they’re open.”

Whipple pointed out that Tiernan’s fiancé could expect his years in the military to be counted toward his retirement in Border & Customs.

“We hire military all the time,” Whipple said.

Danks told Tiernan’s friends that if they’re looking for interior or international jobs, customs is for them, since they can be stationed at airports around the world.

“You can live anywhere from Singapore to Ireland,” Danks said. “And it’s not like the military, where you have to move every few years. You can choose your assignments, as long as they’re open.”

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