Money coming for job retraining

Money coming for job retraining

Money coming for job retraining

Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 12:23 PM.

More than $2 million is on its way to help train and transfer oystermen into careers off the water.

The federal government finally released the National Emergency Grant money after months of back and forth with the state’s WorkForce people, gathering greater specifics on how the retraining of 94 oystermen would be carried out.

This grant is on top of $2.9 million the county received in 2012 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance Program as a result of Tropical Storm Debby.

That money served close to 250 people, nearly all of them as part of a shelling program to replenish the oyster bars of the Apalachicola Bay.

“At that time, they (the federal government) wouldn’t allow us to provide training, it was only a temporary job grant,” said Kim Bodine, executive director of CareerSource Gulf Coast (CSGC), the new name for the Gulf Coast Workforce Board. “A lot of times, with negotiations, we would put them in temporary jobs, and after they ended, we could use funds to retrain them for a different field if necessary.”

Bodine said that when that money ran out, CSGC began negotiations with the state, which administers the federal grant. They surveyed the roughly 234 oystermen who took part in the shelling program and a plan was worked up to find training in the various choices.

“We didn’t believe all of them would want to go into vocational training so we wrote a budget and proposal for 94 people,” she said. “This can only be used for those who participated in the earlier Tropical Storm Debby grant.

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