Inaugural Class of Graduates

Schultz Family Foundation, IVMF, and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to recognize
service members and military spouses at JBLM and Camp Pendleton O2O graduation ceremonies

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, Camp Pendleton, CA (12/7/15) – On Tuesday, December 8 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and Wednesday, December 9 at Camp Pendleton, the Schultz Family Foundation (SFF) and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University will officially recognize the very first graduates of its Onward to Opportunity (O2O) program.

As inaugural graduates of the O2O program, 21 transitioning service members and 9 military spouses from JBLM and Camp Pendleton have completed a combination of classroom and online training in the areas of customer service excellence and information technology and, as a result, have earned industry-recognized credentials and certifications associated with their field of study.

Based on their transition timeline, O2O graduates from both JBLM and Camp Pendleton will now be matched up with industry partners – Accenture, Amazon, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Starbucks, and others – who will be conducting interviews and leveraging this military talent pipeline toward their veteran and spouse hiring goals. The O2O program’s approach is designed to provide prepared candidates for each company’s unique hiring process.

“As an employer, we are excited to participate in a program that connects us to transitioning service members and active duty military spouses earlier in their transition process,” said Angelo Lombardi, Chief Operating Officer for La Quinta Inns & Suites. “By providing industry specific job training, the program will serve as a pipeline for quality talent and help streamline our hiring needs.”

U.S Army Sergeant First Class Alexander Vicente at JBLM noted that the program has given him new insight and training into customer service excellence. “This [O2O] training has given me good exposure to different tools that can be used to maintain excellent customer service as well as improve sub-standard service,” said Vicente. “O2O was a great opportunity that was afforded to me…as I seek to obtain employment as a supply chain analyst and eventually work my way up towards a senior management position in a Fortune 500 company.”

Navy spouse and Air Force veteran Clarissa Boening at Camp Pendleton stressed how O2O is helping her make a solid choice in an Information Technology (IT) career field. “It is a great feeling for me to know that no matter where we retire, there will be something out there for me to do…This is more ‘real’ world than any of the other programs that I have been to in my past. O2O is the only [transition] program that I have seen so far that helps you get real world skills that can be used quickly,” she said.

“These inaugural O2O graduation ceremonies represent a means to both recognize the individual accomplishments of these service members, and also to acknowledge a shift in the nature of how the public and private sector work together to support service members and their families in transition,” shared Dr. J. Michael Haynie, Executive Director and Founder of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), and Vice Chancellor at Syracuse University. “O2O’s ‘pipeline’ approach to workforce skills training allows transitioning service members to receive training aligned with present and future demand in the labor market, supporting a ‘job-ready’ transition from military service to the civilian world of work.”

Dr. Haynie added, “The partnership that made O2O possible – specifically between the DoD, the employer community, the Schultz Family Foundation, and our forward-leaning partners at JBLM and Camp Pendleton – suggests that programs like O2O will set the course for future transition initiatives in support of service members and their families today, tomorrow, and into the future.”

The Dec. 8 ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) will be held from 10 a.m. – Noon (PST) at the McChord Field Club, 700 Barnes Blvd., JBLM-McChord Field, WA 98387.

The Dec. 9 ceremony at Camp Pendleton will be held from 10 a.m. – Noon (PST) at the Marine Memorial Golf Course, Camp Pendleton North, Building 18415, Patio A, Camp Pendleton, CA 92058.

O2O will soon launch the O2O program at Joint Base San Antonio and on three other DoD installations by June 2016, with further planned expansion in subsequent years. To sign up or seek more information, visit



Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University

Wayne Westervelt, Director of Communications, IVMF
Mobile: (315) 558-9483, Email:

Schultz Family Foundation:


MEDIA CREDENTIALS:  To request media credentials at the McChord Field Club (JBLM) and/or Marine Memorial Golf Course, Camp Pendleton North, please contact the following Public Affairs Offices:


Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Gary Dangerfield, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office

(253) 967-0158, Email:


Joe Kubistek, Media Relations, Joint Base Lewis-McChord

(253) 967-0152 / DSN 357-0152;  Email:


Camp Pendleton

Carl Redding, Camp Pendleton Public Affairs Office



About Onward to Opportunity (O2O)

Launched at JBLM and Camp Pendleton this past September, at two separate Transition Summits hosted in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, O2O provides in-demand, industry-validated training and curriculum to transitioning service members up to six months prior to the point of separation, as well as to all active-duty spouses, then links this population with the nation’s leading private sector companies.

O2O brings together the longstanding curriculum development and program delivery expertise of the IVMF; the breadth of knowledge, reach, and specialty in business and state engagement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative; the honed personal touch of service member coaching and mentoring of Hire Heroes USA; and the philanthropic resources of the Schultz Family Foundation.

About the Schultz Family Foundation

Announced this spring in conjunction with U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Ashton Carter, Onward to Opportunity is the latest initiative of the foundation co-founded by Starbucks chairman and chief executive officer Howard Schultz and his wife Sheri Schultz.

The Schultz Family Foundation, established in 1996 by Howard and Sheri Schultz, creates pathways of opportunity for populations facing barriers to success. The Foundation invests in innovative solutions and partnerships that unlock people’s potential, and strengthen our businesses, our communities, and our nation. In March 2014, the Schultz Family Foundation launched Onward Veterans, a national initiative that empowers post-9/11and their families to successfully transition to civilian life. For more information about the Foundation and its work:

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

The IVMF is the first national center in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community; best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Learn more about IVMF at

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