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, is sobering.
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 lays out, in detail, what she found when she looked into the practices and results of Office Careers.
Some students do not finish the program or do not pass, but they are given certificates of completion anyway. Then their benefits are cut off.Susannah Frame, KING 5 Investigations
Part 1 – School of Broken Promises
KING 5 Investigations by Susannah Frame | Aired February 17, 2020
In this initial segment, Ms. Frame interviews an injured worker struggling with his training and worried about his future. She also interviews David Jordan, founder of Office Careers, and Katherine Mason, a Seattle attorney who represents injured workers.
Part 2: Training Program Not Effective, Say Workers
KING 5 Investigations by Susannah Frame | Aired February 18, 2020
In the second segment of her investigative reporting, Susannah Frame interviews two injured workers who received certificates from Office Careers and were found to be employable on that basis. She also speaks with David Jordan, owner of Office Careers, who says the certificates are meant to reward students for trying, but it is up to employers to do their own evaluation of any candidate for hire. Claimant attorney Elizabeth LePley and DLI employee Rich Wilson, who oversees the worker retraining program, are also interviewed.
Our Experience with Office Careers
In our experience, injured workers with complex scenarios are offered retraining through Office Careers when other options are not readily available. This can be the result of limited skills or experience with computers, technology, or office work. Or, it may be that the worker’s level of education would hinder their ability to attend a college program. Language issues may also be present. Whatever the reason, Office Careers can be a tool for vocational counselors, and the State of Washington, to satisfy the requirements of showing that an injured worker is employable. Once found to be employable, the worker’s compensation is terminated.
Our firm has had many clients who participated in Office Careers retraining plans, some completing their program and some not. The most troubling cases involved aspects of an at-home training plan that seemed doomed to fail from the start.
Trust Your Instincts
I tell injured workers to trust their instincts. If things don’t feel right, they likely aren’t right.
Nobody is taught how the workers’ compensation works, they only learn after they’re injured. Getting advice along the way is wise. Most claimant attorneys, including our firm, offer free consultations.