CareerSource Gulf Coast, the regional workforce board serving Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties, came away a winner at the 2016 Workforce Professional Development Summit Sept. 26-28.
Gulf County employee Johanna White was recognized as the CareerSource Gulf Coast Workforce Champion by the State of Florida. A Special Projects Manager with CareerSource Gulf Coast in Port St. Joe, White earned the award for her passionate dedication to community and especially to the children and youth in the community. The Port St. Joe Community Resource Center that White manages serves Gulf County with a broader scope of services than typical workforce centers due to a matching fund foundation grant. The center operates a food pantry and Farm Share program that feeds approximately 300 families per month, and a full-time summer youth program with hot meals provided daily for 230 kids during the summer. In addition to an emergency assistance program, the center also provides traditional job seeker and employer services as well as a small business startup program.
Before joining CareerSource, White was a vice president at a local bank and was laid off with the merge and acquisition crisis that was common in the banking industry at that time. “Johanna tells everyone that she loved banking because she helped people put their dreams together, but she found her calling working with us,” said Kim Bodine, Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “For Johanna, changing people’s lives by helping them find a job, or helping them when they are down and out in her Gulf County community is so much more meaningful. You can see that in the way she approaches her work. She is one of the hardest working people I have ever encountered, and she takes on new challenges with grace and a smile.”
CareerSource Gulf Coast also earned a 2016 Veterans Incentive Award at the Summit for demonstrating exemplary services to veterans above and beyond state requirements.
“We are grateful for the recognition from the state, but more gratified to be making a positive impact on our proud community of veterans,” Bodine said. “While the traditional services of job placement and job development are key to our mission, we really try to be innovative in creating services and projects aimed specifically at serving those who have served us.”
Among those programs is the annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down in Bay County, working with transitioning military members from both Tyndall Air Force Base and the Naval Support Activity Center, providing special access to significant hiring events, and the enrollment of veterans/disabled veterans in training programs. CareerSource Gulf Coast also developed a Military Member Reemployment Initiative during the past program year. This project aims to utilize military skill set data to attract jobs specific to the skill sets of exiting military members. Access to a qualified workforce has become one of the primary decision drivers for companies seeking a destination for their relocation or expansion projects. Unfortunately, economic development and workforce officials have not been able to quantify and qualify the skill sets and number of transitioning military members causing a data gap that negatively impacts efforts to create jobs for veterans through economic development efforts. This data gap is expected to increase as federal budget constraints have led to reduction in force many military branches. CareerSource Gulf Coast has made significant progress in bridging the data gap.
CareerSource Gulf Coast has teamed up with members of the business community, the military community, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and decision makers in the US Air Force, Department of Defense and Congress to pilot the data collection of military members' skill sets, and to survey exiting military members about their plans upon exit. This program, specifically, was the subject of an information display at the 2016 Summit.
CareerSource Gulf Coast provides services to job seekers and employers in Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties. Offices are operated in all three counties. Visit www.careersourcegc.com to learn more about professional workforce development and job placement services, all offered at no charge.