Defense, hospitality remain Okaloosa's main employers

Published: Friday, April 26, 2013 at 07:03 PM.

New workers went through a crash course of intensive training in a mobile vocational school brought to Crestview through a grant. The vigorous curriculum mirrored work conditions, with students required to meet strict attendance and academic progress criteria.

Toward the multi-week training’s end, students were integrated into the employers' businesses, spending some of the workday side-by-side with experienced employees.

Construction looking up

Skill saws’ whines and hammers’ thuds again echo over local neighborhoods as subdivisions rise in Crestview and Baker. They herald the local construction industry’s revival.

"They are seeing a real incline of new building in our community," Sumblin said. "That was one sector that was really downsized during the difficult time."

"We used to be an association with almost 700 members, and we're down to 300 right now," said Alan Baggett, executive vice president of the Building Industry Association for Okaloosa and Walton Counties. "It's taken a toll."

Some former members turned to other professions, while others downsized their businesses, often assuming the jobs of manager and laborer, Baggett said.

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