CareerSource Gulf Coast has been closely monitoring COVID-19, taking precautionary measures to keep our staff members and customers safe.
As of Friday, April 17, all locations in Bay and Franklin Counties will be closed to the public until further notice.
“The decision to close our locations to the public was a very difficult decision to make, said Kim Bodine, Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “However, most of our appointments with clients have ended with them being unable to complete their Reemployment Assistance claim. This, with growing concerns about the virus, put us in a position where we felt we had no plausible course of action but to move to remote services offered over the telephone or email.”
The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) released a paper version of the Reemployment Assistance application (also known as Unemployment Compensation) on April 3, and a mobile-friendly landing page on April 8, giving claimants five options to apply for benefits:
1. Online through the CONNECT system at floridajobs.org
2. Online through the new mobile-friendly landing page. This option is for individuals who do not already have an existing claim. Claimants cannot claim their weeks through this application.
3. Filling out and mailing in a paper application to DEO
4. Filling out a digital version of the application, downloading and printing the completed application and mailing it to DEO
5. By phone by calling 1 (800) 204-2418. This line is designated for customers who need help filing their claim and cannot do so online due to legal reasons, computer literacy, language barriers and/or disabilities.
Beginning immediately, CareerSource Gulf Coast will operate virtually, providing all services to customers via phone and email.
The digital versions of the Reemployment Assistance application, available in English, Spanish and Creole, can be accessed by visiting careersourcegc.com/ and clicking on the COVID-19 web banner.
CareerSource also has printed versions available at all office locations, as well as at the following locations:
- Bay County Public Library
- Breakfast Point Academy
- Callaway Elementary
- Cedar Grove Elementary
- Deane Bozeman School
- Hutchinson Beach Elementary
- Lynn Haven Elementary
- Merritt Brown Middle School
- Parker Elementary
- Patronis Elementary
- St. Andrews at Oakland Terrace
- Waller Elementary
- West Bay Elementary
- Carrabelle City Hall
- Ards Service Station
CareerSource Gulf Coast is painfully aware of the difficulties Floridians have been experiencing with the website and phone number provided to apply for Reemployment Assistance benefits. It is important to note that these resources are managed by DEO and not the CareerSource network. CareerSource Gulf Coast has knowledgeable staff available to assist those who need help filing their Reemployment Compensation claim but does not have control over the functionality of the resources.
Until April 17, CareerSource Gulf Coast was open to the public, operating on an appointment-only basis. This required CareerSource staff members to interact with customers face-to-face to in order to help them with their applications. Most of the customers seen were unable to submit their applications. CareerSource even altered its hours, opening at 4 am CST and remaining open until 12 am CST, to test if claimants could successfully submit their applications outside of the website’s “busy” hours. Minimal applications were successful. Also, for the past week DEO, has had to shut down the site for maintenance between 8 pm EST to 7 am EST, impeding CareerSource Gulf Coast’s ability to hold early morning appointments.
“We will continue to monitor the progression of this pandemic, as well as DEO updates for the online filing system,” said Bodine. “As we receive information, we will reevaluate our operations and make decisions, accordingly. For now, we are aligning resources to help individuals via telephone and email.”
Public affairs and events including onsite recruitment, interviews, training and workshops are postponed until further notice; however, CareerSource Gulf Coast continues to provide services to employers, many of whom are still hiring.
For business partners who have been impacted by COVID-19, resources are available from DEO and the Small Business Administration (SBA). Information on these resources can be accessed on our website at careersourcegc.com/ and clicking on the COVID-19 web banner. CareerSource Gulf Coast is still offering its services to employers, including posting jobs, talent recruitment and more.
We want the community to know that we are here for you. We will do all that we can to see our area job seekers, businesses, community partners and community members through this trying time. We will be posting frequent updates to our social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), as well as to our COVID-19 webpage www.careersourcegc.com/Coronavirus.aspx. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (850) 872-4340.