Veterans Florida is working with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) to prepare former military personnel for jobs in agriculture. The organization has received a three-year, $745,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund the Veterans Florida Agriculture Program (VFAP) in partnership with UF/IFAS.
The program is a six-month paid fellowship designed to provide hands-on experience in agriculture in order to transition the former military personnel into careers in the agricultural industry. Participants will work at UF/IFAS research and education facilities, then be matched with a career at an agribusiness or working farm or ranch.
Veterans Florida is a non-profit organization created by the state of Florida to help former military personnel transition to civilian life.
The VFAP began as a pilot program in 2018, and all participants received full-time job offers upon completion. The program won the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s 2019 Economy and Energy Award, which recognizes projects that promote economic vitality and workforce development while benefiting the community.
“We are committed to working with organizations like Veterans Florida to connect former military servicemembers with career training and job opportunities,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “This six-month program through UF/IFAS will help prepare veterans for careers in Florida’s prominent agriculture industry and work to match them with quality jobs. We will never stop working to support those who have worn the uniform to defend our freedoms.”
Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Deputy Executive Director James S. “Hammer” Hartsell called the program another example of Florida leading the nation in offering former servicemen and servicewomen sustainable career opportunities.
“Creating career paths for veterans and a talent pipeline for the agriculture industry is a win-win for Florida,” said Veterans Florida Executive Director Joe Marino. He said the organization “is excited to continue our Agriculture Program with our partners at UF/IFAS” and provide more former military personnel “with the experience and network to succeed in Florida’s second-largest economic sector.”
Learn more about Veterans Florida here.
Source: Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs
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