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Veterans Florida, FHP create nation’s first statewide internship program for retiring service members

FHP SkillBridge internship prepares service members for law enforcement careers
Veterans Florida
Posted at 2:18 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 14:18:15-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Veterans Florida partnered with the Florida Highway Patrol to create the nation’s first statewide law enforcement internship for separating or retiring active-duty service members under the U.S. Department of Defense SkillBridge Program.

Veterans Florida is 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 Program,

According to a press release from Veterans Florida, the FHP SkillBridge internship will place transitioning service members 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 service members,” said Veterans Florida Executive Director Joe Marino in a released statement. “The FHP SkillBridge internship will train, retain, and attract the veteran workforce of tomorrow to Florida law enforcement and build a pipeline of talented service members 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 percent 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 in a released statement. “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,” Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol said in a released statement. “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 service members 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 service members interested in participating in FHP SkillBridge internship or have questions about the program can visit or contact VETS Program Director Jeremy Sinnemaki at