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CareerSource Gulf Coast marks 26 years of service

The board of CareerSource Gulf Coast gathered to mark 26 years of service by the local organization at its annual luncheon, with more than 90 attendees, including board members; commissioners from Bay, Gulf, and Franklin counties; state legislators and officials; key service providers; program participants; and workforce staff throughout the region.

CareerSource Gulf Coast is one of 24 regional workforce boards in Florida with offices in Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties. On Nov. 4, representatives from all three counties were on the campus of Gulf Coast State College to celebrate achievements, plan for the future, and adopt executive board appointments.

In her review of 2022, Executive Director Kim Bodine said it was a strong year for the local workforce board considering the continued recovery from both Hurricane Michael and the pandemic.

These performance highlights include assisting 1,067 employers recruit and hire workers, providing 13,352 services to businesses and posting 3,549 job orders for businesses.

CareerSource Gulf Coast provided training and employment services to 141 adults, dislocated workers, and youth under the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act, with an average wage of $25.91 per hour at placement for training participants. The workforce board assisted 4,279 jobseekers, providing them with 22,755 services, Bodine said.

“We celebrate the success of those we served and the workforce professionals who support them. Their success contributes to a thriving economy in our region,” said Dr. Patricia Hardman, outgoing chairman of the CareerSource Gulf Coast board of directors.

“Our employees make it their mission to improve the lives of people in our community—business owners, job seekers, youth and young adults, veterans, military spouses, and transitioning military service members,” said Bodine.

Programs delivered by CareerSource Gulf Coast reach far and wide across the region, touching the lives of countless families. Numerous individuals who participated in a CareerSource Gulf Coast program shared the spotlight in the annual “Success Story” presentations, delivered by Bodine.

Those spotlighted include Brooke Martina, an Apalachicola native and registered nurse who was assisted with training scholarships at Gulf Coast State College’s Gulf-Franklin Campus.

The service providers for CareerSource Gulf Coast include Gulf Coast State College and Royal American Management. Individuals who participated in programs operated by the service providers were recognized, as well as those served directly by CareerSource Gulf Coast staff. Additionally, the CareerSource Gulf Coast Board thanked the many agencies it collaborates with to make our communities a great place to work.

Individual Success Story honorees included Sean Green, who reached his dream of becoming a Bay County deputy sheriff with the help of a training scholarship to attend the Gulf Coast State College Law Enforcement Academy, and Keith Morgan, a long-time employee of a local paper mill that permanently closed its doors, who completed training at Northwest Florida State College for a new occupation he has begun as a CDL trucker.

Also honored were Hailey Brock, who excelled in a Summer Internship Program after high school that led to full-time employment and college enrollment as she plans for a profession in psychology; Taylor Ouzts, who committed to completing adult general education preparation at Haney Technical College with support from CareerSource Gulf Coast’s Out-of-School Youth Program and is now thriving as a student at Gulf Coast State College.

The SNAP Program with Royal American Management enabled Jason Cox, after his release from incarceration, to obtain a permanent job with full benefits; and Francheska Patterson, a single mom to two teens that relied on public assistance, to complete training in massage therapy and prepare for the state board examinations as she sets her sights on becoming a business owner.

A Fostering Opioid Recovery grant assisted Cody Curti in recovering from addiction following incarceration, with help with transportation, training, housing, and mentorship, and in finding employment with a second-chance employer. 

The meeting concluded with a vote on a new slate of officers for the year. The gavel was passed to incoming Chairman Elinor Mount-Simmons. Joey Ginn, market president of Centennial Bank in Bay County, was elected vice chair, and Dr. Patricia Hardman of Gulf County will serve as past president. 

“I am deeply honored to serve as chairman of the CareerSource Gulf Coast Board of Directors,” said Mount-Simmons. “I wish to acknowledge the great work performed by the board and the staff, and I look forward to celebrating more successes in the year to come.”

CareerSource Gulf Coast provides services to job seekers and employers in Bay, Gulf, and Franklin counties, with the primary Career Center in Panama City at 625 Highway 231. The Franklin County Office is at 1 Bay Avenue in Apalachicola, and the Gulf County Office is in the Port St. Joe Community Resource Center, 401 Peters St.

Visit www.careersourcegc.com to learn more about professional workforce development and job placement services, all offered at no charge.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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