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CareerSource Southwest Florida announces 2023 Annual Customer and Partnership Award Winners

By Staff | Sep 28, 2023

From left are Lis Scot, CareerSource SWFL Business Services Account Executive/nominator; Mike Biskie, CareerSource SWFL Board Chair; and Michael Overway, executive director Lee County Homeless Coalition, one of the award-winners. PROVIDED

CareerSource Southwest Florida has announced the outstanding individual Achievement Award recipients and partnership Champion Award recipients for 2023.

Nominated by CareerSource SWFL staff, the award winners were recognized at the recent annual awards banquet for overcoming extreme personal and professional barriers – including homelessness and limited financial resources – to achieve success and capture the essence of the CareerSource Southwest Florida mission to reduce dependency, encourage personal growth and provide economic benefits to individuals, businesses, and communities of Southwest Florida.

2023 Achievement Award winners

Courtney White – Port Charlotte Center

Barrier: Homelessness, lack of funding to continue schooling.

Success: worked with CareerSource SWFL Port Charlotte to graduate from the Aviation Power Plant mechanic program at Charlotte Technical College in June. Hired by GE Aerospace as a power plant technician earning $80,000 annually.

Nominated by CareerSource SWFL Port Charlotte staff

Sherita Simmons – Fort Myers

Barrier: homelessness, unemployed, no child care, no transportation.

Success: Worked with CareerSource SWFL Fort Myers to enroll and graduate top of class in the LPN program at Cape Coral Technical College, asked to represent class as commencement speaker, received her multi-state license, pursuing her nursing degree.

Nominated by CareerSource SWFL Fort Myers staff

Beegaelle Desir – Naples

Barrier: Did not speak English upon arrival from Haiti, could only secure part-time job, needed financial assistance with educational funding to go after an associate degree in nursing.

Success: Worked with CareerSource SWFL – Naples to earn associates degree in nursing, passed her NCLEX license, hired as registered nurse at Lee Memorial Hospital.

Nominated by CareerSource SWFL Naples staff

Beessaelle Desir – Naples

Barrier: Did not speak English upon arrival from Haiti, could only secure part-time job, difficulty securing finances to pay for associates degree in computer programming.

Success: Worked with CareerSource SWFL – Naples to secure funding to earn associates degree in computer programming, job offer from Lee County Clerk of Courts as an application architect.

Nominated by CareerSource SWFL Naples staff

2023 Champion Award

Lee County Homeless Coalition

Contact: Michael Overway, executive director

1500 Colonial Blvd., Suite 201, Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-322-6600; executivedirector@


Nominated by CareerSource SWFL Business Services staff

Partnership: One of the first organizations to partner with CareerSource SWFL through the National Dislocated Workers Grant program after Hurricane Ian.

Following Ian, CareerSource SWFL was tasked with administering $6.4 million in national dislocated worker grant funding to help put Southwest Florida businesses back on the road to recovery and our displaced workers back to work – quickly developed a comprehensive action plan to address these critical needs by creating partnerships with more than 76 non-profit organizations and government entities impacted by Ian.

By hosting displaced workers, both the needs of the organizations and those of the workers were addressed. More than 130,428 hours of humanitarian and disaster recovery clean up-related jobs have been fulfilled to date.

Clewiston Police Department Animal Services

Contact: Chief Tom Lewis

300 S Berner Road, Clewiston, FL 33440

863-983-1474; thomas.lewis@clewiston-fl.gov

Nominated by CareerSource SWFL Clewiston staff

Partnership: Operated by the Clewiston Police Department, the animal services division is responsible for providing quality animal control services to the residents and pets in need within more than 500 square miles including the city of Clewiston and eastern Hendry county.

Its mission to have an effective, caring, no-kill animal shelter that serves the community’s animal population in the best manner possible is accomplished, like so many organizations today, with a small, dedicated staff.

They partnered with CareerSource SWFL Youth Program, hiring several youth to take on daily responsibilities and assist staff with caring for animals.

CareerSource Southwest Florida, a leader in workforce development, funds training and provides placement services for job seekers and businesses all at no cost to the participants. With offices throughout Southwest Florida, trained staff is dedicated to connecting employers with qualified and skilled talent and job seekers with employment and career development opportunities – careersourceSWFL.com.

CareerSource is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. All voice telephone numbers on this document may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711.

CareerSource Southwest Florida is the direct service provider for various workforce programs which are fully supported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture as part of awards totaling $15.3 million.