A Message to Businesses, From a Veteran Leader


What do veterans need, and how do businesses and communities play a vital role in their success?

Executive Director of Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs shares his thoughts


“We are doing an excellent job of making military and veterans welcome— we are doing great things at finding jobs for them, making sure that they fit into their communities. Probably the thing that we need to continue to do is stay on the cutting edge of finding out, what does the veteran really need from the state of Florida? Not what the feds are supposed to do for them, but what can the state of Florida do that might make it a little bit easier or more attractive to come to Florida, without being detrimental to the state of Florida.”

More than 1.5 million veterans call Florida home and between now and 2030, more are expected to call Florida home. Veterans have skill sets that directly translate into the workforce needs of high-wage jobs. So how do we ensure Florida’s veterans have access to job opportunities?

“It’s making people aware of what we do have in the state of Florida. It takes you six months to get into the military and we put you out in less than 2 weeks, and that’s quite a transition coming down here. The whole thing is making sure we are getting information for instance… Bobby Carbonell and his Florida veterans, they are reaching out to try to make sure that the job market matches what the soldier or the military person is bringing to the table. And, we just need to constantly make sure that our communities and our counties are actually putting the information out of what they need in there.”

Next week, Florida’s businesses, policy makers and industry leaders will join us for the annual Florida Chamber Foundation’s Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunities Summit. When asked what the one thing that he hopes business leaders will take from the event, the answer was clear:

“How to bring a veteran into your business. A veteran is used to being part of a tribe… when you bring them into your company, bring them into the company- make them part of the family. Companies that do that or think about how to that, the ways they can bring them in and assimilate them easier, makes it much better for our veterans. I hope that they continue to market the need for veterans and hiring more veterans.”


Join us next week in Orlando at Florida Chamber Foundation’s Military, Defense & Veterans Opporuntiees Summit. It’s not too late to register!

Summit Focuses on Protecting, Growing and Supporting Florida’s Defense Industry, Military and Veterans Workforce

State Leaders Gather at Florida Chamber Foundation’s Annual Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunity Summit


ST. PETERSBURG, FL (August 17, 2016) – Governor Rick Scott will join military and defense industry experts and elected officials at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunities Summit in St. Petersburg today to discuss the opportunities and challenges in Florida’s military economy and leveraging veteran’s expertise and skills.

It is estimated that every Florida business is located within 100 miles of a military installation, making Florida one of the most strategically important states for the U.S. armed forces and a pivotal location for military personnel, defense industry innovations and veterans.

“Florida’s military and defense industry puts nearly 775,000 Floridians to work each year and contributes almost $80 billion to our economy,” said TONY CARVAJAL, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation. “However, Florida is expected to experience significant demographic, political and economic shifts throughout the next 15 years that will need to be addressed in order to support our veterans and bring more high-wage, high-skill jobs to Florida’s workforce.”

Today’s event will feature a lineup of experts including:

  • Governor Rick Scott
  • Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam
  • Congressman Gus Bilirakis
  • Senator Jeff Brandes
  • Representative Paul Renner
  • Representative Jimmie Smith
  • Cissy Proctor, Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Glenn Sutphin, Executive Director, Florida Department of Veteran Affairs

“The military and defense industry is a pillar of Florida’s economy, improving economic prosperity and providing jobs for thousands of Floridians,” said COMMISSIONER PUTNAM. “Florida continues to be at the forefront of new innovations and technology, attracting both the companies and talent needed to grow this industry.”

Additional items for discussion will include BRAC and sequestration, federal issues, veteran leadership and the future of military, defense and homeland security industries.

In addition to the day-long conference discussions, a new animated online video, entitled Florida Leads in Military, Defense and Homeland Security Industry, will be released.

Follow the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2016 Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit on Twitter using the hashtag #IsFLReady.