Open Enrollment Continues!

On behalf of Sheryl Gordon:

Our Open Enrollment period is continuing but you’ve got just 15 days to make changes to your current plans! From now until November 30, you can make the following changes:Open Enrollment


You make changes on your My Account feature on the PEBB website 24 hours/day.


Changes made during Open Enrollment become effective January 1, 2019.

Frontline: EAP News and Helpful Hints


Our Employee Assistance Program continues to be a wonderful source of helpful information! This month’s EAP newsletter offers tips about a number of issues including:

  • Distracted driving
  • Social media
  • Workplace defensiveness
  • Procrastination

Click the link below to take advantage of more ways to improve your work relationships and beyond!

EAP Newsletter

EAP Update

In December, we let you know about the new services our EAP (Employee Assistance Program) offers, including legal and financial services. We’d like to take a moment to remind you of those services as well as bring you a few updates!

  • Now there’s a new website shortcut for the EAP: Once you enter (or copy and paste) you’ll enter our organization code GRC to get access.
  • In addition to the great resources you already know about, did you know that our EAP also offers free e-learning and online seminars? These valuable professional development trainings are available in the orange boxes just on the main page. Trainings are about 15-20 mins long and offer you the option to print your certificate of completion!

See the flyer below for more options from our Employee Assistance Program!


Benefits That Matter: Yoriko Sosa-Nakata

This series introduces an employee benefit and the meaning behind it, through the lives of Green River employees and their families. Created by Sheryl Gordon.

Yoriko Sosa-Nakata

Yoriko Sosa-Nakata presenting with her group in a recent IT BAS course.

What event most recently occurred in your life that got you thinking about benefits?
One of the Information Technology Bachelor of Applied Science (IT BAS) instructors, Ken Hang, shared his vision for the new program before it started. Ken’s vision to help students become full stack developers (which he calls “unicorns” since such an individual is hard to come by) helped me realize the IT BAS Program was my perfect path (I also was intrigued about becoming one of the first unicorns in the program).  :)

Personally, I have also been aware of the gap between formal educational and those skills that are self-taught through applied or creative fields. I know that I’ve transformed or evolved through work and certifications in digital media production, magazine layout, marketing campaigns, and web development. I believe that having the right knowledge (both formal and informal), combined with an official IT BAS degree, will play a major role in my personal and professional growth.

Yoriko Sosa-Nakata

Presentations were given to the cohort, program instructors, and industry guests.

What specific Green River benefit do you appreciate most?
I truly appreciate the tuition waiver benefit that state employees receive.  One of great things about enrolling at Green River was that the majority of my previous IT and web courses were accepted as part of the IT BAS program requirements. That made my life much easier, as it took prior learning and professional experience into account.

Once accepted into the program, I simply complete forms at the beginning of the quarter,  submit them to HR and my instructor to obtain signatures, and then provide the final documents to Enrollment Services. It also helps to have a supervisor who supports professional development of course.

What does that benefit mean to you and loved ones?
Well…this benefit actually enriches the life of my entire family. It means that one day we’ll be able to create our own family app (something my husband and son are excited about as they are both geeks as well). Besides getting to work on school projects though, in some cases for real-world clients brought into the classroom, the skills taught perfectly compliment the existing degrees I already have. The IT BAS degree symbolizes real-world projects, becoming a full stack developer, and the unlimited potential for creative freedom.

Yoriko Sosa-Nakata

Yoriko’s team project resulted in a working prototype of a location-based, college map application.

What tips would you provide to anyone who is thinking about using this same benefit?
I spent several years attempting to determine which degree option or college best fit my unique needs. As it happened the best college was the one I actually work for! Getting to this point, however, has been a long journey. Originally, I began my research several years ago, but was unable to find the perfect solution, which took into account prior education and technical skills, while still being flexible enough to work into a busy schedule.

I would suggest to anyone considering this benefit, the tuition waiver program, that their decision be a family decision. There are so many variables involved (from work schedule to childcare, and even getting back into the mode of pulling all-nighters if necessary) that the entire family has to be on the same page. It means becoming a student once again. It means weeknights and weekends are spent doing homework. It means my husband is probably giving my son fast food on occasion. It means missing family events or scheduling vacations around breaks in quarters. It also means I have an extensive support system, both at home and in my newfound brothers and sisters in the IT BAS cohort. This is a decision we did not take lightly and one that we are proud to have chosen at the very institution we work at. For that, we sincerely thank Green River College.

Benefits That Matter: Caitlin Orchard

This series introduces an employee benefit and the meaning behind it, through the lives of Green River employees and their families. Created by Sheryl Gordon.


Welcome to the family!

What event most recently occurred in your life that got you thinking about benefits?
The most recent event in my life where benefits were at the forefront of my mind was the birth of my son Noah. He was born January 22nd at Good Samaritan Hospital. It was the most precious and wonderful moment of my life.

What specific Green River benefit do you appreciate most?
Before the Community and Technical College system I was in private industry and did not have benefits. I was responsible for covering my own medical costs. I appreciate every single benefit we receive and I have had to use all of them over the past five months for maternity leave.

Tell us about your family members covered by this benefit.
My son and I are covered under my benefits. My husband has his own insurance so we are able to have double coverage for Noah. Most of the expenses were from the hospital and all of his well-baby check-ups. I love the fact my medical insurance allowed me to choose our pediatrician because Noah loves his doctor.

What does that benefit mean to you and loved ones?
In my opinion our benefits are worth their weight in gold. I have always been so thankful for our sick leave, vacation, medical and dental.  We do not know how good we have it until we need to use our benefits. Our medical insurance was a blessing because I had to have a C-section which costs more money and without that coverage we would have been in trouble. My vacation and sick time allowed me to stay home full time with Noah during his first months of life and really learn how to be a mom. Those were precious moments I did not want to miss and luckily I had the leave to cover the time. During his first week of life we were at the pediatrician’s office six times for various reasons, and thank goodness for medical benefits, because I do not know how we would have afforded the expenses. It’s amazing how much health care costs, and we are very fortunate to have these benefits. Again, worth their weight in gold.

What tips would you provide to anyone about to go through a similar life event?
I would recommend using our resources here on campus to plan out any leave you want to take. Meeting with Sheryl in HR and Shirley and Elizabeth in payroll really helped me figure out how to use my leave to maximize my time and money. This goes without saying, but planning with your supervisor is very helpful. Sarah and my team in the Welcome Center were so accommodating and supportive. Lean on other colleagues that have gone through the experience to see what they did and what worked for them. Many of the awesome ladies I work with gave me great advice and helped me plan. Once the baby comes, enjoy every single moment. :)