FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is launching a new program in Frederick that aims to prepare severely wounded veterans for careers in federal contracting.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is the keynote speaker at the event Thursday.

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The VA says 23 veterans are enrolled in the inaugural class of the internship program called “Warriors to Workforce.”

The three-year program enables participants to earn college credits and receive training in federal contracting and leadership.

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In the second year, they become interns on a path leading to careers as acquisition professionals.

The program is part of the VA’s Center for Acquisition Innovation, which opened in 2008. The agency aims to grow its own workforce of contracting specialists in an effort to reduce waste and mismanagement.

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