Governor’s Defense Initiative

Georgia is committed to being one of the nation’s most military-friendly states.  In 2012, Governor Deal established the Governor’s Defense Initiative to proactively coordinate state-based economic development efforts and the state’s Congressional delegation’s work in Washington related to retaining and growing Georgia’s military bases, related business community and workforce. To achieve this goal, the state is focusing its efforts on workforce training, strengthening existing companies, and identifying and passing related legislation for servicemen and women and their families, veterans, and communities.

  • Nine major defense installations
  • The nation’s 5th largest active duty population
  • Over 750,000 veterans
  • 7,400 veterans and 1,013 businesses registered on
  • More than 860 veterans received degrees from the USG during spring 2016


In support of Georgia’s armed forces community, the Governor’s Defense Initiative has resulted in or supports:

Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative:  Listen to the needs of businesses representing industries around the state, including a military focus, and identify paths that will effectively train the skilled workforce they need for the future.

GUARD Initiative:  An ongoing effort to assist and strengthen Georgia aerospace and defense companies who perform Department of Defense (DoD) related work in creating new business opportunities and managing their talent resources.

In-state tuition:  Offers in-state tuition in Georgia to military personnel, their spouses, and their dependent children stationed in or assigned to Georgia on active duty.  The University System of Georgia’s (USG) institutions have the ability to waive mandatory fees for military members utilizing tuition assistance.

Military Spouses and Veterans Licensure Act:  The Act is designed to assist Georgia veterans with transitioning into the civilian workforce by expediting the licensure.

Operation: Workforce:  Georgia’s veteran and transitioning service member employment initiative.  This program connects current and former service members with the workforce system, and at the same time, Georgia businesses with this skilled workforce.

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s VET² program:  Partners with industry leaders like Gulfstream Aerospace and JCB to provide both classroom and experiential learning experiences for transitioning service members.

Georgia Veteran Education Career Transition Resource Center (VECTR): The University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia joined forces to develop the program which will open in Warner Robins. The 32,000 square-foot facility will serve as an academic and workforce gateway for veterans as they prepare for civilian employment, re-enter Georgia’s workforce and systems of higher education.

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Mike Grundmann



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