Employment initiatives bring more than 400 jobs to Florida Guardsmen
Since October of 2011, 436 Guardsmen have acquired employment through the efforts of the Florida Guard Family Career Connection, a program established to find meaningful employment for Florida National Guardsmen and their families. The initiative was created to address high unemployment rates among returning Guardsmen which reached a peak of 38% for Soldiers from the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in 2010. With the help and support of Florida Governor Rick Scott, the Florida National Guard continues to assist its Soldiers and Airmen in finding employment throughout the state.
“The men and women of the Florida National Guard make enormous sacrifices every day to serve our state,” said Governor Rick Scott. “Our number one priority is to create more jobs in Florida and we will not rest until every Floridian who wants a job has one – including the brave men and women who serve in our U.S. military.”
With a motto of “Let’s keep our Florida Guard Family working in Florida,” Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw, the Adjutant General of Florida, challenged the Florida Guard Family Career Connection to find employers in Florida who are interested in hiring National Guardsmen so that the service members do not have to look out of state for work.
“Our Guardsmen are our most valuable resource and each and every one of them is vital to our success,” said Titshaw. “Helping our Guard members to obtain stability in their civilian lives makes them better able to perform the tasks we ask of them.”
The success of the program stems from the collaborative effort of Florida National Guard Battalion Career Counselors, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program, the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s One-Stop Career Centers and the support of statewide military-friendly employers.
Through a partnership with the Department of Economic Opportunity and their Veteran representatives, the Florida Guard Family Career Connection hosts hiring events throughout the state. With the support of Florida Governor Rick Scott, all Florida National Guard members are eligible to receive “Veterans” treatment at all DEO/One-Stop Career Centers throughout Florida regardless of their status.
Because of its success, the Florida Guard Family Career Connection is becoming a model for other states that are battling similar issues with unemployment. Currently, the unemployment rate for Florida National Guardsmen is at 6.8%, below the state and federal average.