TALLAHASSEE — The Florida is for Veterans Board of Directors held their initial organizational meeting on Oct. 20 in the Florida Senate Office Building.
Florida is for Veterans, Inc. was established by the legislature in 2014 as part of the Florida GI Bill to serve as an innovative corporation to encourage recently retired or separated military personnel to make Florida their permanent residence. The corporation will also work with veterans and the business community to promote the transition, training and hiring of recently retired or separated veterans statewide.
The Florida is for Veterans, Inc. Board of Directors will administer the Veterans Employment and Training Services Program for the state. A component of this initiative includes creation of a grant program to assist veterans in meeting the workforce-skill needs of businesses seeking to hire veterans. The board will accomplish this task in part by working closely with the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida and CareerSource Florida to accomplish its varied duties and tasks. Funding for the program includes $3 million to support a business training grants program and an entrepreneurship program.
The Board is a diverse and accomplished group of individuals from across the state. The Governor, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House each appointed three individuals to the Board. The Board selected Jim Bagby to serve as its first chairman. Jim currently serves as the Walton County Tourist Development Council Executive Director and has previously served on the Destin City Council. Other members of the Board include John Adams, Jamee Graff, Courtney Heidelberg, Joe O’Conor, Prebble Ramswell, Tom Rice, Jim Sampey and Martin Steele. The next scheduled meeting will be held at the Capitol on Nov. 3.
Florida has the third largest veteran population in the nation with more than 1.5 million veterans. These veterans already account for more than $15 billion in economic activity for the state on an annual basis. Florida is for Veterans, Inc. will reinforce Florida’s standing as the most veteran-friendly state in the nation by helping veterans to bring or develop the skills needed by Florida businesses to the state.
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