Budget conference: House, Senate agree on Operation New Uniform money

Support program for veterans poised to get another year of state funding.

A Jacksonville organization devoted to helping veterans reenter the civilian workforce is one step closer to getting funding in next year’s budget.

Operation New Uniform, which has helped 97% of its veteran clients find careers after military discharge, is slated for $500,000 in the FY 22-23 budget after the Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Committee accepted the House offer Tuesday night in the first day of subcommittee budget conferences.

The funding level is less than the $700,000 sought by Sen. Aaron Bean and Rep. Cord Byrd in their respective appropriations requests.

Nevertheless, the money, if ultimately approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis, is an increase over the $200,000 of state support in the current fiscal year. It matches the $500,000 recurring funds that Bean said he wanted in the funding request filed with the Florida Senate.

ONU, per the Bean funding request, has “served over 15,000 veterans since it began.”

“ONU focuses on proven success strategies to provide veterans with the skills they need to gain a fulfilling career before falling into acute suicidal distress, substance abuse, or homelessness. ONU is a two and a half week program … serving and building a family of professional veterans who are determined to grow, build back their confidence, and find that successful career that they deserve after service,” the request asserts.

The Byrd funding request speaks to the results: “We know that people who are unemployed for a short or long period of time get frustrated and sometimes take desperate measures. We have testimonials of students that have gotten a new lease on life even as early as the first day of class.”

With Jacksonville still being a major military town, programs like Operation New Uniform are natural funding choices.

The program has also been celebrated by U.S. Rep. John Rutherford as a model military transition initiative.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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