FloridaMakes Bridges the Manufacturing Sector Talent Gap by Facilitating Employment of Veterans with Florida Manufacturers


February 21, 2024

Media Contact:
Frances Nevill, Director of Communications, FloridaMakes

“Bring the Veteran Advantage to the Workplace” Initiative Connects Veterans to Manufacturing

ORLANDO, FL —FloridaMakes, the official representative of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program in the state of Florida, proudly announces the launch of a groundbreaking workforce program in sync with Governor DeSantis' goal of enhancing employment and educational opportunities for veterans, active military members, and their families. This initiative, “Bring the Veteran Advantage to the Workplace" is specifically designed to seamlessly connect transitioning servicemembers with lucrative manufacturing apprenticeship occupations, further solidifying Florida's commitment to supporting our nation's heroes. 

The program is funded through The Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant (PCOG), administered by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE). This initiative gives Florida manufacturers the opportunity to bring the veteran advantage to their workplace, through the Department of Defense’s (DoD) SkillBridge and to develop and prepare their future workforce with industry-driven, high-quality career pathways through registered apprenticeships that provide post-secondary education and lead to industry recognized certifications. Florida manufacturers, through this program, can enroll and provide upskilling opportunities to their existing veteran workforce.

“Through this initiative, we’re poised to connect the innovation-driven needs of the manufacturing sector with the discipline, leadership, and technical acumen of our veterans. We are not just filling jobs; we are forging career pathways.” said Marcelo DosSantos, Director for Workforce Development at FloridaMakes.

Orion Talent, a recognized leader in military hiring solutions, will play a crucial role in recruiting and coordinating interviews with manufacturers throughout Florida. Orion Talent’s HireSkills program combines industry certification training and transition assistance, providing a seamless transition for servicemembers into promising careers in the manufacturing sector.

This initiative not only addresses the skill gap in the manufacturing sector but also enhances the diversity and innovation of the workforce by integrating the unique experiences and perspectives of veterans. Companies can also take advantage of the program to upskill existing veterans in their workforce.

"The Florida SkillBridge Initiative creates unprecedented opportunities to build a highly skilled talent pipeline for manufacturing employers while attracting transitioning servicemembers across the country to Florida," said Joe Marino, Executive Director of Veterans Florida. "As the state's principal Department of Defense SkillBridge awareness and assistance organization, we are proud to work with FloridaMakes to ensure experienced veterans continue to choose our state as their home." 

Florida's continued ascent in the manufacturing sector at becoming one of the leading manufacturing states in the nation, complemented by its status as the state with the third-largest veteran population in the country, reveals an exceptional opportunity for Florida's manufacturers to recognize and tap into the remarkable, yet underutilized, reservoir of talent that veterans represent.

For more information about program, visit:

About FloridaMakes
FloridaMakes is a statewide, industry-led, public-private partnership operated by an
alliance of Florida's regional manufacturers associations and partner organizations with
the sole mission of strengthening and advancing Florida’s economy by improving the
competitiveness, productivity, and technological performance of its manufacturing
sector, with an emphasis on small and medium-sized firms. It accomplishes this by
providing services focused on three principal value streams: technology adoption, talent
development, and business growth. FloridaMakes is the representative of the
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network in the state of Florida, a
program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S.
Department of Commerce. For more information about FloridaMakes, visit and follow @FloridaMakes.

About Orion Talent
Orion Talent is a leading talent acquisition and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) firm, specializing in military hiring. With a commitment to connecting top-tier talent with world-class organizations, Orion Talent plays a vital role in bridging the gap between military service and civilian careers.

About Veterans Florida
Veterans Florida is a nonprofit created by the State of Florida to help military veterans and their families transition to civilian life. And promote Florida’s status as the nation’s most veteran-friendly state under Florida’s Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) Program. Veterans Florida is also the state’s designated DOD Skillbridge assistance organization. Our mission can be summed up in the theme – Your Pursuit.Our Power – because we recognize military veterans are incredibly focused and will success achieving their personal and professional goals when they take advantage of our tools and resources. Visit for more information and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube for updates on veteran opportunities in Florida.