Conference Registration Info
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Returning Veterans Focus of Eastern Florida Conference
September 3, 2013 - Highly trained, highly skilled and highly motivated.
Those words describe thousands of veterans seeking jobs and careers in civilian life after fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Among the numerous agencies ready to help is Eastern Florida State College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
The center will hold its 13th Annual Veterans Conference on Wed., Sept. 18 at the King Center for the Performing Arts on Eastern Florida’s Melbourne Campus focusing on these goals:
- Helping veterans who own their own businesses grow their firms
- Lending a hand to veterans who are interested in getting an enterprise off the ground
- Aiding business owners in assisting their veteran employees
The conference is the largest of its kind in Central Florida with about 80 companies and organizations participating, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Small Business Assistance Council and Veterans Business Outreach Center.
Representatives from NASA, Patrick Air Force Base, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Procurement Technical Assistance Center will also offer their expertise.
“Veterans are one of our nation’s greatest resources and the conference is an excellent way for them to learn how to translate their military experience into successful civilian careers,” says Robert Picket, the SBDC’s director.
“Many veterans have struggled after returning home, but the job market continues to improve and businesses often want to hire veterans because of their strong work ethic and leadership qualities. That makes the conference a perfect fit for them.”
The keynote speaker will be retired Air Force Major Gen. Marcelite Harris, who is CEO of two companies — MARSTEN and Eroster Government Services. She will talk about “Preparing for Life’s Next Chapter.”
Harris was the first African-American woman brigadier general and major general in the U.S. armed forces, held a top command assignment at the U.S. Air Force Academy and served in the White House.
The Eastern Florida conference comes at a time when unemployment among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is finally dropping, down to 7.3 percent in June.
However, veteran’s advocates say more needs to be done to help former servicemen and women find employment.
The falling jobless rate “is an extremely positive step," Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which has more than 200,000 members, recently told NBC News.
"It's the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people both in and out of the government. But this isn't the time to take our eye off the ball."
To that end, federal and private-sector programs aimed at helping veterans get jobs continue to expand with the Eastern Florida conference one example of programs available on the local level.
More than 1,600 veterans are studying this academic year at Eastern Florida, utilizing benefits that include the new GI Bill for those who have served since 9/11.
“Our conference gets more interest each year and we strive to bring the latest and best information for veterans to the forum,” says Pickett. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to help them.”
The conference includes workshops and runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There’s a $60 registration fee, which includes breakfast, lunch and materials.
Sponsors include Brevard Workforce, the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Harris Corp., Lockheed Martin, Boeing Company, Craig Technologies, IAP Worldwide Services, Florida MEP, Florida Today, One Senior Place, TD Bank, Comprehensive Health Services and Florida 8a Alliance.
To register, go to www.easternflorida.edu/go/sbdc
For more information, call Sandy Pfrimmer at (321) 433-5570 or firstname.lastname@example.org