Music store + job-seeker = Perfect harmony

Employment Success StorySam Martinez was a good-with-his-hands cook searching for another job.

Ryke Dahlen was a Colville merchant looking for a technician to repair musical instruments.

Rural Resources’ Employment and Training Division helped them find each other and supported Martinez’s on-the-job training.

Now both employee and employer couldn’t be happier.

“This is a hard job to learn because you’re not just repairing one kind of instrument,” says Ryke, owner of House of Music. “We do all the band instrument rentals for the local high schools. If a kid’s out of band with a broken instrument, the teachers get pretty cranky.”

Drawing on his musical and fix-it skills, Sam rose to the challenge. After only a year on the job, the 33-year-old Colville man is not only fixing instruments but also installing the car stereos the shop sells.

“Sam is quiet and unassuming, but you give him a job and he does it,” Ryke says. “This is a great success story because he’s a local guy who wants to live and work at home. And I’m happy to have found the right person for the job right here in Colville.”

Rural Resources’ on-the-job training assistance is designed to benefit employers and the local community as well as the trainees themselves, says Rodney Van Alyne, director of the Employment and Training Division.

The trainee earns a wage while the employer is reimbursed through Rural Resources for some of the extraordinary costs associated with teaching a new employee, he says. “It is very satisfying to see former participants contributing to and thriving in our communities.”

Rural Resources employment and training services are offered in seven counties and include:

Help with training and re-training, including formal vocational training that leads to a degree or credential.

Access to employment opportunities, labor market information and interest/ability assessments.Temporary employment opportunities to teach people with little or no work history basic skills and positive work habits.

Job retention and advancement help to get people past barriers to employment and/or into better-paying jobs in a career field.

Help with clothes, tools, gasoline and other expenses needed for employment.

Opportunities for young people, ages 14 to 21 to improve their education, employment and study skills and gain work experience.

A free and confidential adult literacy program.

“Our goal is not to just help someone get a job, but to help them complete training that leads to a career,” Rodney says.

Sam, who became a new dad five months ago, had trained to be a chef in Portland, Oregon, but found he didn’t like the high stress and long hours of his chosen profession. Ready for a change, he sought out Rural Resources, where he saw the ad for the House of Music opening.

He could play trumpet and clarinet, not fix them, but he was eager to learn.

Now he’s earning a reasonable wage doing something he enjoys. “I get to come to work and play and tinker with all these instruments. I put new and repaired instruments into kids’ hands and greet customers who are happy and not complaining that their steak is over-done.”