Governor Crist Applauds Florida Employers for Hiring Veterans

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Recognizing the tremendous contributions and significance of veterans who have served our country, Governor Charlie Crist hosted Florida veterans and employers for a roundtable discussion on how to increase job opportunities for veterans. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director LeRoy Collins Jr. and Agency for Workforce Innovation Director Cynthia Lorenzo joined the Governor to highlight the value veterans have in the workplace and how government can better assist them.

“The proven skills and leadership of our brave veterans, who have defended the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy every day as Americans, make them ideal contributors to a successful workforce,” said Governor Crist. “Confidence, integrity and discipline are just a few of the countless benefits America’s veterans offer their employers and colleagues.”

Governor Crist has proclaimed November 2009 as Hire a Veteran Month in Florida. The Governor’s proclamation reaffirmed Florida’s commitment to the men and women who serve in our nation’s Armed Forces in times of war and peace.

Today’s roundtable participants included:

·Retired Navy Reserve Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins Jr., Executive Director, Department of Veterans Affairs

·Cynthia Lorenzo, Director, Agency for Workforce Innovation

·Glenn Asbell, Marketing Manager, Zabatt Inc.

·Bernadette Walsh, Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training, Marine Corps Veteran

·Steven “Shon” Bynum, Agency for Workforce Innovation, Marine Corps Veteran

·John Marsha, Florida State University Student, Florida National Guardsman, U.S. Army Veteran

·G.W. Lupton, Division of Emergency Management, U.S. Air force Veteran

·Hugh Brown, Gubernatorial Fellow, Office of Drug Control, Air Force Veteran

·Thomas Richardson, WorkSource, Veterans Employment Representative

·Adrian Smith, 1st Lt. Florida National Guardsman Veteran, FAMU Alumni

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The Recovery Act-expanded Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) allows employers hiring unemployed veterans and other eligible workers to receive up to $2,400 or more in tax savings for each eligible worker added to the payroll this year and next. More information on WOTC, including all the eligibility requirements and the forms employers need to apply for certification, is available online at

“We are committed to serving those who serve our country through our job placement and job training services,” said Agency for Workforce Innovation Director Cynthia R. Lorenzo. “We have dedicated staff available at each of the state’s 91 One-Stop Career Centers, all of whom are veterans themselves, specifically trained to anticipate and meet the needs of our veterans and connect them with Florida’s employers.”

Florida has more than 1.7 million veterans, including more than 970,000 under the age of 65. Hire a Veteran Month is coordinated by the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI), Workforce Florida, Inc. (WFI) and the state’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards.

“Florida’s veterans are an employer’s best bet,” said Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director LeRoy Collins Jr, a retired Navy Reserve Rear Admiral. “They bring to the workforce transferable skills, a sense of teamwork and integrity, and the ability to perform under pressure.”

Resources for Veterans and Employers

Florida Vets First and Employ Florida Web Sites

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs, AWI and WFI collaboratively oversee the Florida Vets First initiative, which includes an interactive Web site,, a resource for information and links to employment and training assistance as well as other services. Florida’s workforce partners are also committed to bringing employers and veterans together using the full network of available services including the Employ Florida Marketplace (EFM), accessible online at Employers can search the EFM database for veterans who may be qualified for available job openings and contact them directly.

Florida's One-Stop Career Centers

Employers are encouraged to contact their local One-Stop Career Center to receive assistance in connecting with and recruiting veterans. The 91 One-Stop Career Centers around the state offer a wealth of resources including specialized Local Veterans' Employment Representatives (LVERs) and Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP) staff who can provide relevant veteran applicant referrals. Last year Florida's One-Stop Career Centers served more than 100,000 veterans, more than 10,000 of whom had recently separated from the Armed Forces. To find a local One-Stop Career Center, please visit

Post 9/11 GI Bill

More than 5,000 of Florida’s returning veterans and eligible family members have enrolled in colleges and universities this year utilizing the newly enacted Post 9/11 GI Bill, an increase of nearly 30 percent over last year. These veterans will transition into the workforce with additional skills in a variety of areas.

Under Florida law, public employers including state government entities, universities, school districts and utilities are required to give preference to veterans and eligible spouses in the hiring process. The U.S. Department of Labor also provides a comprehensive list of reasons why hiring a veteran makes good business sense at, including veterans’ integrity, efficient performance under pressure, teamwork and triumph over adversity.

For additional information about programs and services available to veterans and their families, please visit the Agency for Workforce Innovation’s veterans services Web page at

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