Encompassing exciting high-growth cities like Tampa and Orlando, Central Florida provides a world of opportunity for veterans seeking to launch and run their own businesses, find a job in a veteran-friendly company and set down roots in a spot with a warm, sunny climate and abundant cultural and outdoor activities.
Industry and Employment
Central Florida has a wide range of cutting-edge industries well-suited to those with military backgrounds. Orlando is the world capital of Modeling, Simulation & Training (MS&T), the top producing region for engineers in the Aviation, Aerospace & Defense industry and also home to the world's first international consortium for advanced manufacturing and research. Tampa Bay serves at the gateway to the Florida High Tech Corridor, spanning 23 counties, and the surrounding region is packed with rapidly growing high-tech companies, research institutions and industry organizations. There are also rich opportunities in agritechnology, aerospace, digital media, energy technologies, life sciences and medical technologies. The main innovation driver in the Tampa Bay region is Information technology.
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Central Florida has many excellent state universities and colleges
that offer 2- and 4-year degree programs in a wide variety of fields, including the University of Central Florida
and the University of South Florida
. Veterans attending the region’s schools and using GI Bill benefits
pay the in-state tuition rate, no matter where they came from. Desheun Hines and his wife Patricia
, both former U.S. Marines, chose to further their education at the University of Tampa and tout the huge level of support they have found among veterans and non-veterans alike. Kyle Lee
, an Army veteran, found similar benefit at Hillsborough Community College
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Entrepreneurship in Central Florida
Veterans can tap into an endless stream of mentors among business leaders and veterans in the communities of Central Florida. University of Central Florida
and Hillsborough Community College
offer the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program
, offering free instruction to veterans seeking to own and operate their own business. Scott Neil
, a former Green Beret who co-founded American Freedom Distillery
in St. Petersburg, completed the inaugural program and has experienced firsthand the deep support the Tampa Bay area offers to someone launching a social brand.