Irish Moss: grand opening

In partnership with Home First Development, PHC Northwest has developed another affordable housing complex without sacrificing aesthetics, safety or space. The new Irish Moss, at 14050 E. Burnside St., Portland, is a 27-unit complex, with large and roomy three-bedroom apartments of more than 1,000 square feet.

The grand opening of Irish Moss will be from 8:30 – 10 am, Friday, December 19 in its community center, 14050 E. Burnside St., Portland.

Charlie Hales, Portland mayor, and Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County chair, will be on hand to address the significance of Irish Moss in their respective efforts to remediate Portland’s affordable housing shortage.

All are welcome to the grand opening. Light refreshments will be available. Please R.S.V.P. to Victoria Kearns, public relations coordinator, at 503-261-1266, ext. 187 or email

Ask Demiko

Demiko Cherry, PHCNW Recruitment Specialist

"Time is Valuable"

Whenever you apply for a job always remember the time of a recruiter or hiring manager is his or her greatest commodity.  It is imperative you write your resume in a manner that leaves no room for interpretation.

When you apply for a job, make sure to match up your skills and experience with the job description. You need to read the job description carefully and take the time to list all of  your skills and experience that match it.  You would be wise to think of your resume as a sculpture you are carefully constructing to display a masterful representation of your professional self.

Demiko's e-mail is:

Interviewing 101: The Interviewer Is Always Right

By: Demiko Cherry

Interviewing is always challenging, but it becomes a conundrum when the person your are interviewing with has a different viewpoint than yourself. As much as you would like to express your point of view, the interview is not the place to do so. Here are some quick tips to help guide you through the interview and to remind you what's important:

1. Interviews are designed for candidates to share their experience, showcase their talents, and sell themselves. Candidates interested in a position should always concentrate on how they can best describe their skills and convince the interviewer why they are the best selection.

2. An interview is not the place to express your personal opinion or to take a political platform. If the interview does ask your opinion on a controversial matter, one should find the positives about that subject matter and expound on those aspects and then IMMEDIATELY vacate the conversation.

3. It’s your job not to get trapped into discussing anything that creates animosity in an interview. One common trap interviewees often find themselves trapped in is the pay discussion. If you have to talk about pay, try to do it closer to the negotiation stage. The interview really is not the place for that discussion unless the interviewer opens that door. You may discuss pay at that point carefully. If the amount of the position is already posted, and you wish to ask for more than that amount, make sure you are at the stage where you actually being seriously considered for the job. Ultimately, it’s important that pay is not the foremost concern.

4. Again, the interview is really just a discovery process for all parties. It’s not a forum for haggling over money, politics, or any other sensitive topic.

There you go! Some quick, snackable tips for you to try at your next interview. Good luck and remember - stay upbeat and positive!

Jeremy Barber, a PHC Employee, has been recognized by the Port of Portland PDX International Airport!

On Tuesday, a small crowd gathered at the Port of Portland PDX International Airport for a luncheon. This wasn't an ordinary luncheon however. It was also a chance to celebrate and award several people who work at the airport that have provided exceptional customer service over the last quarter. Honored with an award called the "PDX Make the Connection Champion" was one of PHC's own employees - Jeremy Barber. He was nominated for the award by one airport traveler who accidentally left his wallet in a men's restroom. The lucky traveler recounts what happened and the reason for Jeremy's nomination:

“One Sunday in April, I was traveling through PDX with three family members, plus my five-month-old grandson, when I stopped to use the restroom in bag claim. I washed my hands and took a couple of items out of my brief case in preparation to check in and exited the restroom to join the rest of my family. Within a couple of minutes, I realized I did not have my wallet, which contained a fair amount of cash and the rest of my day-to-day world! I hurried back down to the restroom to find a janitorial cart parked nearby, but no worker, and no wallet. Luckily, a Port Police Officer was passing by, so I stopped him and explained the situation. Using his radio, I heard him make an inquiry and a voice came back, “Ralph Graham?” WOW! In a minute my wallet - with everything included - was handed to me! I am forever grateful to Jeremy Barber, who found my wallet and did a very, very honest and right thing by turning it in! Please pass along my compliments to Jeremy, who really made this husband, father and granddad a very blessed person that Sunday evening.”

Congratulations to Jeremy for your well-deserved award!

The Connecting Communities Coalition’s Leadership Academy kicks off first class with inspiring talks by Mari Watanabe and Yvonne Chang

The Portland Alliance building on 200 SW Market Street was mostly deserted, with only a few employees of the various businesses locking up or heading out of the building. While most were headed out for the day, though, one of the conference rooms remained open. Slowly, students of the Connecting Communities Coalition’s new education program began to arrive. Sitting down in twos and threes at various tables, the students greet each other, talking excitedly about what they would learn in just a few minutes at the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy.

Officially kicked off on Tuesday, August 6th, the first class was led by two inspiring guest speakers – Mari Watanabe of the Portland Business Alliance and Yvonne Chang of Yvonne Chang Consulting. Speaking on the steps that each took to become a leader, as well as the challenges that they had to overcome to hone their leadership skills, each intertwined their experiences together to create an effective and powerful lecture for the fourteen students in attendance.

Upon completion of the lecture, the students were separated into groups and tasked with listing the stereotypes of people with disabilities, as well as stereotypes of leaders. The students came up with several examples for each, including that people with disabilities are viewed as slow and unable to be productive and that leaders must make tough calls. The lists were used as a jumping off point for a discussion on the best approaches to leadership and understanding community needs.

“I’m very excited to be here,” Says Samantha Richards, a student of the Leadership Academy, “I want to learn how to become better connected with my community.”

Next week’s class will feature a discussion on conflict resolution and communication. With guest speakers Bob Speltz and Jennifer Soulagnet from the Standard and Christina Albo from NW Resolutions, the class is expected to be an informative and invigorating class session. It will take place on August 13, 2013 from 6 – 8 pm at the Portland Alliance building.

PHC Helps to Clean up the City Hall Sidewalk!

The warnings that Portland City Mayor, Charlie Hales, has been giving out in regards to cleaning up and uprooting the homeless that are camping on the sidewalk outside of City Hall have come to pass. Last Tuesday at 8 am, Portland police began rousing campers and telling them that they would have to leave the City Hall sidewalk and move elsewhere.

To encourage the campers to move, the City of Portland commissioned us at PHC to pressure wash the blocks. Two of our Building Maintenance Trainees (Kevin Douglass and James Richardson), one of our Building Maintenance Trainers (David Morrison), and one of our Maintenance Supervisors (Tony Monroe) worked to wash the pavement. All eyes were on them as they worked to clean the path, and they were featured in The Oregonian’s photo essay on their website as well as in news clips on KATU, KGW, The Associated Press, and KOIN 6.

Look for a new blog post next week that features an interview from one of our staff members who was snapped in a photo by Benjamin Brink.

Ask Demiko: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Applying for a Job

By: Demiko Cherry

So many people apply for jobs they do not want but they think they need. When you’re looking for a job be sure that you ask yourself these key questions:

  • Is this something I have a passion for?
    • If you don’t have a passion for what you’re doing, why do it? Most likely you won’t be producing your best work, nor will you be able to learn from the work that you do. Find your passion, and let that steer you in the right direction instead.
  • Could I see myself doing this all day long?
    • If you can’t, then it isn’t the right job for you. Instead, look for a job that better aligns with your interest. You’ll be much happier and passionate about the work that you’re doing.
  • Is this something that I would get tired of?
    • Working long and flexible hours is difficult to do, and the time doesn’t go any faster if you’re tired of what you’re doing the minute you walk in the door. If you answered yes to this question, then most likely the job you’re thinking of applying for isn’t the right fit.
  • Is this a position that I can grow in?
    • This is probably the most important question that needs to be answered. Your career is a series of stepping stones, and if you’re not going to be growing in the position that you’re applying for, then you can’t get to where you want to go.

The reason that these questions are so important is so that you don’t get stuck doing something that you can’t or won’t do well. So many people today apply for jobs in desperation which can make the difference between whether or not you apply for a job you want or apply for a job that you need.

Proposed Senate Bill 805 Struck Down!

This year’s legislative session has come to a close, and there were a few controversial bills that were introduced and discussed just before the legislature adjourned. One such bill was Senate Bill 805, which was sent back to the Senate Rules Committee to be amended, and never made it to the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 805 stated that contracting agencies will be required to perform cost analyses in regards to services like busing, landscaping, and janitorial. The contracting agency would look at wages and benefits and if the cost analysis shows that it is less expensive to conduct the service in-house, then government agencies would have been forced to provide that service in-house. The law would have prohibited contracts in which the only difference between the in-house cost analysis and the private company cost analysis was the cost of wages and benefits.

PHC Northwest believes that this bill attacked service providers and state programs that work to support competitive employment for people with disabilities in the public sector. “This bill has such social impact on people with disabilities as it puts this underserved population once again at a disadvantage in competing for jobs in the real world.” says John Murphy, President & CEO at PHC Northwest. Those who desire to live independently and seek out QRF’s and nonprofits in order to accomplish this goal will find their path barred by this bill. The State of Oregon’s Qualified Rehabilitation Facilities (QRF) Program supports competitive employment through contracting opportunities in the public sector.

An Oregonian article was published recently that highlighted the effect that this bill would have had for government agencies, including schools that wanted to contract out. “If your mission is to educate kids, you should dedicate as much money as you can to that core mission, which means saving as much as possible on ancillary services.” says Oregonian staff member Erik Lukens in the comments of the article. This bill would remove those savings by forcing schools to pay government employees instead of giving these busing, landscaping, janitorial, and other ancillary jobs to people who rely on contract work as means of employment.

While this article did not focus on people with disabilities, the arguments brought forth by the Oregonian Editorial Board are even more clear and compelling with the disproportionate effect on people with disabilities, as the relationship between government agencies and schools is symbiotic. Each group has a mission to serve, and this bill would have effectively hindered both missions.

“SB 805 surreptitiously affects people with disabilities by cutting off an avenue for scarce jobs that could offer them living wages and benefits. Having these jobs breaks the reliance on tax-payers dollars in the form of government subsidy.” Says Therese Mclain, head of contracts and communication at PHC Northwest.

We are happy to announce that the bill was not put to the senate floor last week for discussion. This is because several groups, including PHC, rallied together to express our outrage. The opposition of the bill was brought to the attention of Senator Laurie Monnes-Anderson. This is a great success for the QRF program and nonprofits that help people with disabilities, and we hope that there will not be a similar bill created in the next legislative session.

The Art of Presenting Yourself while Job Hunting

By: Demiko Cherry

Interviewing, resume writing, presenting, and following up are all part of the job hunt. In each step you want to present your best self. At interviews, answer questions with a spin of positivity even if the questions are negatively posed. Your job is always to present yourself and your capabilities well, which means presenting an image of uncompromising professionalism and realistic positivity.

If an employer doesn’t respond, don’t use that as an opportunity to send negative correspondence. Instead, send a gracious follow-up letter or a card thanking them for their time. Responding negatively to an employer only informs them of why they should not consider you for employment. In every stage of the process you should remain professional at all times.

It’s important that your personal presentation is flawless. Your personal presentation is all you have at that moment and you don’t want your first impression to a negative one. A negative first impression can almost certainly be the last impression you ever get to make.

Ask Demiko: Using Networking to Find a Job

By: Demiko Cherry

Whenever you are looking for a new job or wishing to change careers, the question you should ask yourself is “who is in my professional network?”

In today’s world, many jobs go un-posted and are filled before anyone in the general public is aware they were ever open. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising; so networking is the easiest way to find out what jobs are available before the competition is nearly insurmountable.

There are several ways to network. Here are a few tips for you:

- Popular networking websites like LinkedIn, Meetup, and Twitter are good places to help build your network. You can connect with people in different industries, talk and get to know them, take them out for coffee and before you know it you’ve got one foot in the door to getting an interview.

- Joining a job club or group can help you kick start your networking process and get you pointed in the right direction. There are several groups that meet up on a weekly or monthly basis, and everyone there is looking for the same thing. You can use that to your advantage to collaborate on new and upcoming job openings, application and interview techniques, or find out about companies that you didn’t even know existed before!

- Hiring fairs are a great place not only to find open positions, but to network with recruiters who work at different companies. You can find out inside information about the company, get to know the recruiter and make sure he/she remembers your name. You can also do a bit of digging and find out if they have any other job openings if none of the ones at the hiring fair fit.

In short, networking is often like a shortcut to the opportunity you may be looking for. It is important to get comfortable with networking and become a proficient at it. Networking also comes in handy if you ever need your company to partner with another company, or if you’re looking to keep up with the industry. Your networks will always be there for you and they will always be interested in chatting.

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About Our Blog

Whether you're a person with a disability looking for a job or paid training or an employer looking to add to your workforce, you've come to the right place. PHC Northwest is here for you. Check back often for helpful hints for job hunters, and the latest in disability employment. For information on paid training in janitorial and / or building maintenance, contact Tom Reed, PHC Recruiter, at 503-261-1266, or email us at