Washington State is launching an investigation into Office Careers after KING 5 Investigations’ Susannah Frame reported on the company’s practices. Ms. Frame’s investigation reports, “School of Broken Promises,” have aired over the past couple of weeks. Information reported prompted the State to look into the practices of Office Careers and it’s treatment of students.
Susannah Frame is the Chief Investigative Reporter and Specialty Reporting Coach at KING 5. Ms. Frame’s investigation of Office Careers, an unaccredited training facility in Renton, WA, has drawn the attention of the Department of Labor and Industries and Workforce, which oversees retraining programs, including those for injured workers. Workforce is now launching an investigation into Office Careers.
Office Careers provides retraining to workers injured on the job, paid for by the Department of Labor and Industries (DLI). In a multi-part series, Ms. Frame laid out, in detail, what she found when she looked into the practices and results of Office Careers.
Washington state has paid millions of dollars to the uncredited, online school that aims to re-train injured workers for office jobs.Susannah Frame, KING 5 Investigations
Part 3: Washington State Regulators Launch Investigation Into Office Careers
KING 5 Investigations by Susannah Frame | Aired February 25, 2020
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In the third segment of the series, Ms. Frame meets with Jim Parker, Chief Investigating Officer at WA State’s Workforce Board. Workforce is launching an investigation into Office Careers and it’s practices will determine if it has been involved in unfair business practices. Mr. Parker’s investigation will determine whether Office Careers maintains a license to provide retraining services in Washington State.
Ms. Frame also interviewed an injured worker who, after eleven months of training, says she fears becoming homeless as she faces losing her workers’ compensation benefits. Her retraining plan is scheduled to end next month, yet she says has gained no skills that would allow her to obtain an office job.
Ms. Frame notes that David Johnson, owner of Office Careers, disagrees with the information she has been reporting. He continues to defend the practices of Office Careers instructors and the value of retraining received through their programs.
What Should Happen When Retraining Ends
After completing a valid retraining program, an injured worker should have gained the skills and experience to re-enter the job market. The Department of Labor and Industries issues a determination that the injured worker is employable, based on the completion of the retraining plan. Time loss compensation benefits end with this determination of employability.
In most cases, the claim moves towards claim closure. However, sometimes claims can remain open for ongoing medical treatment, if indicated, even if the injured worker is back to work and time loss compensation benefits are no longer being paid.
Unemployment Benefits May Be Payable
Wage and hours worked data is used by the State of Washington’s Employment Security Department to determine eligibility for unemployment insurance compensation for all workers. Unemployment benefits are usually paid to a worker after a layoff. But, when a worker is injured on the job, their eligibility data is frozen while they are off of work.
If the injured worker was qualified to receive unemployment benefits on the date of their injury – and, if they were not off of work for 6+ years – unemployment benefits may be payable after time loss compensation ends.
In most cases, unemployment can be paid during the job search phase, while the injured worker is looking for physically-appropriate work or a job in their new field after retraining. Additional assistance can be provided by Worksource. This can include additional skill-building sessions, such as interview or resume writing classes. It can also include assistance with a job search, as well as the vast database of open jobs maintained by Worksource.
We have worked with many, many clients who successfully complete retraining programs and return to work in a new career. For many injured workers, quality vocational retraining programs bring the greatest, long-term benefit after an injury. Restoring earning capacity and/or finding satisfying work goes a long way towards making an injured whole after an accident.
Have Questions? Get Answers.
If you, or a friend or family member, have any questions or concerns about a workers’ compensation claim, please feel free to contact our firm. We offer a free case analysis and are happy to discuss your questions and concerns with you.
Prior Posts with Related Content
KING 5 INVESTIGATION OF OFFICE CAREERS – Includes Parts 1 & 2 of the series, “School of Broken Promises.”