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2022-10-19 - 1:46 p.m.

God bless small town mayors!
I am at a regional VEC office and while here a gentleman came in to get set up in the VA Workforce Development Center as a user and learn how to search for work in the VA Workforce Connection.

As getting set up eventually the folks helping him got to his name.
He is a mayor of a city/town.

So he basically was here as part of a committee and he wanted to walk through the USER EXPERIENCE To get down to HOW systems FUNCTIONALLY WORK.

So as he then identified WHO he was and how he was navigating systems to understand how they work, a couple folks came down to talk about the issues with VEC.

Encouraging me to know it is not JUST ME having issues!

YEAH I am not in particular being hacked : )

Another lady came in as she was approved for unemployment, received two checks and then suddenly she noticed HER BANKING INFO was changed and WRONG. She ALERTED Them at VEC

and she told me that the VEC system apparently WAS HACKED!

And that this ALSO happened last year when she was out of work a bit.

AND she has a cybersecurity job paying six figured when employed so she undertands these things. She moved to West VA as as a single mom from TX as she found a kicking good job but then got let go AFTER her move a year ago. She found project work but it ended and is looking for her next positions. Has a couple iorns in fire and hopes for offers to choose from
BUT she has not received a check in 5 weeks after 2 weeks of unemployment ( as he last job was in VA!)

so she was hopping angry but very politely said they need to fix their problem as folks need to pay mortgages. She has a shut off notice for her utilities and after 5 weeks is at HER resource limits of borrowing from Peter to Pay PAUL

Hell she used her savings when MOVED but did not have a nest egg yet built when lost her job. I just listened to her story as we waited.
She said
Trust me if they don't help me today and fix this
I will go to the news next and report the hacking and outage. They have an OBLIGATION to let people know
to protect their information.
I was helped first and told my info all looked good and that I got a letter that seemed all was OK but that they are waiting on an appeal for my case.

As I got a letter stating the appeal was filed.

The person down her just said to the Mayor "If it gets too involved down here then they go upstairs"
which is where that lady was brought.

YUP the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I was NICER She presented more upset at her limit and threatened to call the news so she got the triage treatment for them to resolve her issue.

While I was told to just WAIT for the next letter which will say when my date of the APPEAL review is.

Its interesteing how it works.
Those that make noise get helped first.

Just fasinating.

KUDOS to the Mayor of Winchester VA
(what the hell- let me call him out in particular)

Mayor John David Smith, Jr.

who is really trying to compel process improvement in the VEC process for benefit of the constituents he serves.

I am impressed with his attitude and doing the work of literally walking through the processess in place to see what can be improved.

And heard the frustration of the folks here in this office.
They said the systems don't work then suddenly will go on line functional for a short period and that over the past two weeks such problems with them down that every day they get 8 to 10 more ANGRY People not getting successfully through the process of filing for unemployment or able to file the weekly claim who the STATE office said GO To your local office.

then the folks drive an hour or more here from Northern VA ( Where I live!) As this is the closest office
and they can't get into the system from here to even set up a new claim and have a PIN Number issued.

Its a freaking mess that they don't have capability here to really help people yet the main line in Richmond tells folks to come here.

Avoidance of accountability
or not being honest when there is a problem and they are literally DISABLED due to a possible hack.

but hell as for me. I was not really WORRIED that it was particular to me at all.
I just roll with it
But not hopeful will receive financial support from unemployment insurance any time soon either.

And I dont' feel the need to go ballistic emotional to get to the top of the triage list of consumer to help first...

I had the help of my son AND a offer SIGNED so the 2nd official client.
And I went to the local town business association where I enjoyed THE BEST muffin from a local bakery and another wonderful cup of coffee from a local coffee shop. The same one that has folks buy coffee and put up sleeves on a board for those needing a cup without means to enjoy a FREE fancy cup of joe.
I am grateful for them.
I am grateful for the kindness of strangers.

And know there are good folks and good things in this world and confident each month my bills will get paid and I will get work and be able to pay my son back BEFORE he has to pay HIS IRS bill in APRIL!

Feel bad will not be able to (likely ) HELP my one college kid with her tuition this Spring Semester. She asked me this AM and I said SORRY NO..
but hope her Dad can. She has to pay the tuition bill in DEC.

Not likely I will have a couple thousand extra by then.

OK BAck to figuring out how to set up that on line account for my car insuance to get the electronic bill and auto pay discounts! THose are worth about $30 a month. I got to the town of Wincheter at noon which is of course lunch hour so spent an hour on the phone on hold for much of the time and then spoke to a customer service rep who was happy to take my payment so at least my SEPT payment went through!

The mayor is still here talking to the VEC person so its fascinating as in the room next to me I am hearing them trouble shoot and discuss the VEC Workforce Portal issues and how they try to get all to know of it and use it etc...
I am just happy to hear the good people really trying to tackle these issue.

and LOVE That he is discussing (REAL TIME) NOW that there are too many hoops. There is so much education needed to make these sites functional. HE GETS IT
If systems are too complex then they are not user friendly for the AVG person.
LET ALONG those Not avg..
we need systmes that do not require skills to use. HONESTLY They should be user designed for those with the most profound challenges and the LEAST skills among our population.

It is backward as designed to avoid FRAUD
which honestly the Risk of this is DEMINIMUS

Problem is those with higher education look at risk assesment but never pull DATA to know they are designing systems to mitigate risk of FRAUD without actual awareness

Not aligned with the REALITY of its existance.

Hearing them talking of the system contraints. No mechanism to notify that folks need to enter an electronic system to ask for help.
Referrals are not clearly communicated
LOVE hearing them talk about how to functionally HELP OTHERS.

OK enough easedropping...

OK there is no way NOT going to listen BUT ENOUGH Capturing real time the Mayor and good folks at Winchester VEC office Work.

I am just happy to know and share THEY ARE TRYING BEST

and am going to try AGAIN to get on line and set up with my insurance company for the autopay and e delivery discount to save $30 a month

AND continue my job hunting.
I Need MORE clients or a complementary FULL TIME with W2 benefit of good health care!

Tomorrow I have FOUR Medical appointments to shuttle kids to. College student scheduled three this week ( one done today!) .

BUT I feel like soon enough I should not have THAT MANY each week! So a full time job is sustainable. The kids home also are doing so much better and if the one gets support from DAR office and Workforce development that kid may also get supports for disabled including transportation so I can work full time without as much need for transportation for medical appointments for that one kid! If they get transportation support for medical appointments that would enable me to be in an office full time more easily!
The client I just picked up is West Coast and PERFECT for moonlighting at night!
Totally sustainble to have a full time job and that client if my kid has transportation to their Doctor appointments.

OH Wait- - SIX appointments this week for the kids!( I forgot brought one to their specialist yesterday! Then Dentist for another today.. then four tomorrow between two of the kids. Tomorrow will be a trip driving back and forth. One has to go early and waist so I can get the other to their dr on time.)

GOD bless this mayor-- he is loggin in and getting help to navigate as he is user testing.
Makes my heart sing to hear this...

EVEN thought I have still not gotten one penny from VEC and know eligible!!

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VEC just makes me laugh at this point. Tried again this AM between shuttling kids to Dr. Appts. - 2022-10-20


CONFIRMED VEC WAS HACKED! Sheesh no wonder I can't file my weekly claim. - 2022-10-19


Taking each next step. Even when some are steps taken before. - 2022-10-19


Nice space for job hunting at least. Quiet here ... the mayor meeting was not too distracting but encouraging! - 2022-10-19


Again YEAH got some shit done Now onto job hunting. And heard the inspiring ACTUAL work of a TRUE public servant. - 2022-10-19