Relay program to require mandatory drug testing

Kim Bodine Photo available for purchase

Kim Bodine

Lois Swoboda
Published: Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 08:46 AM.


Restrictions including mandatory drug testing are limiting participation in programs to find jobs for oystermen.

Workforce Florida, Inc. created in 2000, was conceived to “develop the state’s business climate by designing and implementing strategies that help Floridians enter, remain and advance in the workforce.” In recent months, in response to the failure of seafood harvesting in the bay, the Gulf Coast Workforce Board has stepped up efforts to train Franklin County seafood workers for alternative employment.

Although Workforce Florida is attacking local unemployment on multiple fronts, several hurdles remain to be crossed.

Kim Bodine, executive director of the Gulf Coast Workforce Board, appeared before the county commission on Nov. 20 to update them on the progress of training and placement programs, and to present Workforce’s newest five-year plan. The commission approved the plan, with Commissioner Noah Lockley opposed.

Lockley questioned Bodine about a proposed oyster relay program for which the county has requested federal funding. He asked who made the bylaws for the program and noted that they varied considerably from previous oyster relay and shelling iniatives funded by the state. He asked why drug testing would be required.

Bodine said funding for the relay has been requested through a national emergency grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, and that the rules are based on federal requirements.

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