Tallahassee, FL

Veterans Florida, a non-profit created by the State of Florida to help military veterans transition to civilian life and to promote Florida’s status as the nation’s most veteran-friendly state under Florida’s Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) Program, has partnered with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), a division of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), to create the nation’s first statewide law enforcement internship for separating or retiring active-duty servicemembers under the U.S. Department of Defense SkillBridge Program.

The FHP SkillBridge internship will place transitioning servicemembers on a 3-6 month rotation to gain on-the-job experience in a variety of positions within the law enforcement agency. SkillBridge participants will be considered for placement in sworn and non-sworn positions upon completion of their military service.

“The Veterans Florida–FHP partnership breaks new ground and establishes Florida as the preeminent destination for separating and retiring servicemembers,” said Veterans Florida Executive Director Joe Marino. “The FHP SkillBridge internship will train, retain, and attract the veteran workforce of tomorrow to Florida law enforcement and build a pipeline of talented servicemembers with transferable skills from their military service to sworn and support careers.”

“From numerous programs that directly benefit military members and their families, to having more than 20% of our workforce comprised of veterans, FLHSMV takes great pride in being one of the most veteran-friendly departments in Florida,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “We are proud to partner with Veterans Florida to implement the SkillBridge program to ensure those who have put our country first are afforded the best opportunity to succeed as they transition into the workforce after service.”

“For members of the U.S. Armed Forces and law enforcement alike, protecting and serving is not a job, it’s a way of life. Many veterans already call FHP home, bringing an unmatched set of skills learned from service,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “We look forward to participating in this great program that will ease the transition process for service members and further strengthen Florida’s law enforcement workforce.”

The DOD SkillBridge Program enables active-duty servicemembers with commander approval to gain work experience through internships, fellowships, and apprenticeships with employers during their final six months of service. Military personnel of any rank and branch are eligible to participate in SkillBridge and maintain their DOD salary benefits.

Separating or retiring servicemembers interested in participating in FHP SkillBridge internship or have questions about the program can visit veteransflorida.org/register or contact VETS Program Director Jeremy Sinnemaki at sinnemaki@veteransflorida.org.