For four graduates of the Gulf County Workforce Board’s Ladder program, it was a day of new beginnings.

For four graduates of the Gulf County Workforce Board’s Ladder program, it was a day of new beginnings.

In partnership with the Jessie Ball duPont Foundation, each year economically disadvantaged young adults, ages 18-21, in North Port St. Joe learn the basics of banking, public speaking and job interview preparation.

Students also complete the 12-week Dale Carnegie Training that includes intensive training on team member engagement, leadership development, sales effectiveness, customer service, process improvement and presentation effectiveness.

“The program is a good second chance,” said Workforce Board case manager Barry Hand. “It helps students from an educational and self-esteem standpoint.”

The program is in its second year and prepares students for careers in the military or provides a first step toward community college or barber school.

This year, Dr. Renee Coffey, a psychologist, was hired to assist Hand in the program. She led individual and group counseling sessions, trained students on goal setting and life skill planning.

“I loved it and it was a real honor,” said Coffey. “It’s amazing opportunity for young people.”

Coffey said that the program is perfect for those who want to get into the workforce but don’t know where to start. Hand and Coffey agreed that it was their goal to walk them through the process and show them that it’s possible to succeed in a career.

“It’s a serious commitment, but it’s an awesome program,” said Hand. “We want to help you.”

In addition to job skills training the program can also help students complete their GED or obtain a driver’s license.

The graduates celebrated their achievement on Friday with a reception at the Gulf Coast State College Gulf/Franklin Center with a luncheon. Students were congratulated by Hand and Coffey along with County Commissioner Tan Smiley.

The goal of Gulf County Workforce Board is to provide leadership, oversight, guidance and assistance to institutions and individuals by delivering training and workforce services in order to meet the employment needs of Bay, Gulf, and Franklin Counties.