Workforce Looks Back At Its Successes & Challenges - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Workforce Looks Back At Its Successes & Challenges

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Panama City, Fla. -

The Gulf Coast Workforce Board has seen its fair share of challenges this year: weak unemployment numbers, a lack of job opportunities and an untrained workforce.

But according to the executive director of the board in the last two years the unemployment rate dropped while job creation kept increasing.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Gulf Coast Workforce Board and its stakeholders gathered for their annual meeting. Executive Director Kim Bodine says the organization has overcome some difficult challenges put before them. "As everyone knows the economy has been tough, you know its been tough on Florida, and we're starting to see signs of pulling out of that."

The organization which attends to the needs of three panhandle counties says Franklin County is gaining the most attention. Generations of workers are without jobs, some even struggling to feed their families.

"The work that we do is somewhat like parenting, when you have a child that is sick, that child is your most important child of the day. And so when we have a community that is hurting or is facing a natural disaster or a huge mass layoff situation, that's going to be where our focus is." Bodine says.

But in the midst of their troubles, the organizations say they are ready to move forward. Bodine and her staff are constantly writing grants for financial assistance. They currently have about 39 sources of funding to assist the business community

"You need skilled labor, and you need businesses that have jobs." Bodine says.

With a new chairman at the head of the organization, they're planning to further the successes of the past.

"One of the criteria of our work here is that we give the people the training they need to not only find jobs but keep the jobs they currently have so they can move up and create positions below them." Incoming chair, Tommy Ward says.

The Workforce served over 60,000 walk ins at their center this year. In addition, they provided in demand training to over 11-hundred adults.