Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $8.6 million in Get There Faster: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Governor’s Reserve Funds grants have been awarded to workforce development boards across the state to expand career and workforce training opportunities for military veterans and spouses seeking employment.
The governor’s announcement comes as Paychecks for Patriots Career Fairs for veterans and military families are underway across the state.
“We owe the freedoms we enjoy as Americans to our military veterans, and I am focused on ensuring Florida is the best state in the nation for those who have served to find great jobs, start or grow businesses and support their families,” said DeSantis. “Business is booming in Florida, and employers are looking for the leadership skills, training and teamwork military veterans bring to the workforce.”
In June, the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors approved funding for the competitive grants to reach and assist a greater number of military veterans and spouses of active-duty military and veterans with employment challenges such as homelessness or service-related disabilities.
“CareerSource Florida is honored to serve those who have served our country,” said CareerSource Florida Board Chair Stephanie Smith, senior director of government relations for Anthem, Inc. “On behalf of our board, we applaud Governor DeSantis for prioritizing funding to ensure our military veterans and their families have the resources needed to begin or continue great careers here in Florida.”
Grants announced will fund projects including:
A 12-county partnership across the Florida Panhandle to connect veterans, transitioning military and spouses with work-based training, apprenticeships and internships. The partnership includes four local workforce development boards, military bases, colleges and technical schools to build upon participants’ military experience to create career pathways leading to rewarding employment.
A partnership between CareerSource Tampa Bay, CareerSource Polk, Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services and Pemco Conversions to develop an accelerated career pathway to high-demand occupations in the information technology and aviation industry sectors.
An expanded job training program for disabled and other veterans and military spouses that incorporates supportive services such as transportation and childcare, partnering with CareerSource Palm Beach County, the School District of Palm Beach County – Adult and Community Education, local colleges and several local training providers.
A partnership with CareerSource Broward and community organizations including Henderson Behavior Health Services, the United Way and Broward County Veterans Services to engage homeless veterans and others in job training, apprenticeships, paid work experience and credentialing programs.
“As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, our governor values the training and skills veterans bring to Florida’s workforce,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “CareerSource Florida is working closely with our education and local workforce development board partners to ensure the grants announced today allow us to serve even more veterans and their family members, including those facing homelessness and other challenges, so they can connect with meaningful employment opportunities.”
“With more than 1.5 million veterans and active-duty military members residing in Florida, our military community plays a vital role to the overall success of Florida’s economy,” said Secretary Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). “Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, DEO will continue to prioritize the needs of Florida’s military community and will work to help them succeed.”
In addition to the grants announced last week, the annual statewide Paychecks for Patriots program partners the state Department of Economic Opportunity, the CareerSource Florida network and participating Florida employers to hold job fairs for veterans and their families. Local workforce development boards across Florida are hosting Paychecks for Patriots events throughout the month of November to help build connections between veteran job seekers and Florida’s job creators.
“Florida is the most military-friendly state in the nation, and we continue to look for innovative ways to help make Florida a more attractive place for military families,” said Florida Department of Education Senior Chancellor Eric Hall, a member of the CareerSource Florida board. “Investing in the education of our military families will guarantee a better life for them and their families. With the No. 1-ranked higher education system in the nation and our rapidly expanding workforce training programs, we will live up to this guarantee, providing our military families the ability to obtain middle to high-paying jobs in high-demand job sectors.”
“Florida is one of the nation’s most military-friendly states, and it is our honor to support those who put on the uniform to protect our great nation,” he added.
DEO employs nearly 150 Local Veterans Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists throughout the CareerSource Florida network who work year-round to connect veterans with rewarding careers. Over the past year, 5,800 military veterans have been hired following assistance from the CareerSource Florida network.
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