Incorporating large and vibrant cities like Jacksonville, Pensacola and Tallahassee, North Florida is brimming with economic, educational and recreational opportunities. The area hosts 15 major military installations, and the communities in this region avidly embrace veterans who make up 23% of the population.
Industry and Employment
North Florida's industries are quite diverse. And many businesses in the region rely on the kinds of skills and attributes that veterans gain in the military, for example aviation companies such as Destin Jet
, a fixed base operator based in Destin, Florida, and technology companies like DigiPro Media
, a software development firm in Pensacola. Both companies have employed veterans and received Veterans Florida Business Training Grant
funds, which helped defray hiring and training costs.
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North Florida has a number of excellent universities and colleges
with veterans centers that help veterans acclimate to campus life and fuel their academic success. University of West Florida was designated a “Best for Vets” college and both this institution and the University of North Florida
were named “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs Magazine
. In Florida, veterans using GI Bill benefits
pay the in-state tuition rate.
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Entrepreneurship in North Florida
The strong culture of entrepreneurship in North Florida is ideally suited to veterans who want to own and operate their own business. Katherine Thomas
, a former Navy helicopter pilot, is a perfect example of someone who transitioned, then successfully launched a nonprofit organization—Jacksonville-based Yoga 4 Change
. The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program
offers tuition-free instruction for veterans interested in entrepreneurship at the University of West Florida, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
, and the University of North Florida. Bradley Cantrell
, an active duty Air Force TSO at Herbert Field in Fort Walton, attended the inaugural program and applied the insights he gained to the business he founded—Happy Hour Ice Cream