New hiring program for students in Winlock

By Nolan Patching

In the Lewis County area many teenagers are having a difficult time finding jobs. Fast food and diner style restaurants, grocery stores, and retail stores often hire teens. In these jobs teens obtain necessary experience for their future.

A new idea from Winlock's own Lynnette Hoffman may help teens find full or part-time jobs, job training, experience, and job shadowing in the near future. The program is called Students for Hire. Hoffman met with Winlock High School's Principal Brian Maley on Tuesday, February 23rd and spoke about beginning her program. Recently, Hoffman was doing mock interviews for a class at Winlock and noticed the kids seemed to have a lower confidence than when she was in school.

"When I graduated from here," Hoffman said about her personal experiences after graduating from Winlock High School. "I honestly felt like I was unstoppable and could do anything." Hoffman moved to Seattle after a few rough years in the area and went into the financial services industry. Her on-the-job training allowed her to climb up the corporate ladder and she spoke to members of Congress regularly addressing them on the issues of affordable housing and other financial aspects.

When asked what the program will accomplish, Hoffman said, "We will give students the opportunity to gain confidence and skills to help them as they go into the work force. We also want to help students build their resumes for jobs while they are in school with the ability to align them with mentors and local business owners." The program will be all for the students to experience working at various locations, and she plans on getting in touch with local businesses. How much will the businesses have to pay in order to participate in the program? "There will be no cost," she said but the businesses will be paying their due by helping students become more work experienced and give them a boost going on into their post-high school lives.

Hoffman points out her first success in the mock interviews, "I interviewed a student that had confidence he was going to succeed and I knew the minute I met him I needed to help him to succeed. That student was Nolan Patching and he is the new reporter for the Town Crier."

A story like this is just what she wants for the program. "We were able to find him a job that was right up his alley. This is what this program is about, giving students the tools to succeed!" Volunteers from moms to para-educators at the school, and a few retirees will be helping the program run.

Hoffman has a friend in Houston who runs a program like this and was also a graduate from Winlock. Students who want to gain work confidence, grow their job skills, and have fun will want to be a part of this program. Business owners willing to give job shadow hours will be key in this process. Any volunteers, owners, or students interested in this should call Lynette Hoffman at 206-919-5797 or email her at