The Onward to Opportunity (O2O) program has expanded with the recent additions of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Fort Drum, New York; Fort Gordon, Georgia; and Hampton Roads, Virginia, and is now offered on eight military installations across America. An O2O welcome is extended to our four new program managers at Camp Lejeune (Amy Taft); Fort Drum (Joanna Habermann); Fort Gordon (Edward Daniel); and Hampton Roads, Virginia (John “Gucci” Malfitano). Transitioning service members and military spouses on these recently added military installations may now enroll in the O2O career skills training program and prepare themselves for civilian transition.
“The O2O program continues to gain momentum as we are now 8 locations strong with pilot tracks being added for both PMP and Cyber Security. To date we have 71 O2O participants who have found employment with another 18 in the interview process,” said AJ Florkowski, O2O National Program Manager. “It truly is a great feeling to be part of a program that is revolutionizing the way our military communities approach post-service employment, as well as career advancement for Spouses and our Selective Reserve component!”
Amy Taft, Camp Lejeune
Amy is a highly experienced Supervisor, Manager, Professional Development Trainer, Educator and Project Manager, who inspires others to reach their maximum potential. Having worked in the public school system, government, and nonprofit sectors, Amy brings a complete package of logistical planning, leadership, and personality that easily establishes personal connections and has the ability to move others as a cohesive unit to the next level.
Most recently as the Marine for Life Regional Manager for the Southeast District, Amy maintained a network across the Southeast Region of the United States to assist transitioning members of the United States Marine Corps. In this capacity, she oversaw and provided guidance to 19+ part time Marine Reservist that serve as home town links for the network. Amy also served as a liaison for civilian employers and educational institutions who wish to interact with transitioning Marines. Additionally, Amy provided guidance to civilian companies as requested on Military transferability of skills. Amy effectively maintained and grew an expanding network of Marines, corporations, small business and educational institutions to create a unified network that employment opportunities, mentorship opportunities and advice on educational pathways. Amy also served as the primary point of contact for East coast personal and professional development departments for the Marine For Life Network.
In recent years Amy also has served as a TRS Instructor for the Camp Lejeune MCCS. In this capacity Amy instructed the CORE curriculum for the Transition Readiness Seminar (formerly known as Seps/TAPS) as well as Financial Management Basics, Education and Career Technical Pathway classes. Areas of instruction include employment, education, vocational/technical, and personal financial management disciplines. Amy also developed curriculum by identifying competencies and develop an assessment tool, establish and prioritized goals, develop instructional materials for diverse learners and collaborate with other instructors and industry professionals to ensure relevance of lesson plans. Amy was instrumental in MCCS’s efforts to collaborate with Department of Labor representatives, State and County Veteran’s Administration representatives and other community agencies to ensure service members receive quality and accurate information.
Amy joined the IVMF Team in July 2016 and will undoubtedly develop a first-tier program there in the Camp Lejeune area that will propel the Service Member community onward to meet their employment goals and objectives.
Joanna Habermann, Fort Drum
Joanna Habermann serves as the installation program manager for Fort Drum’s Onward to Opportunity career skills program (IVMF’s initiative), one of the most transformative efforts underway in the nation addressing the transition needs of our military connected members and their families. Joanna’s background includes over seven years of leadership experience working on Fort Drum with military organizations, three years of experience specifically with transition assistance program.
Prior to joining the O2O team, Joanna was responsible for the management, coordination, and administration of the Fort Drum Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP), Fort Drum, NY. During her time at SFL-TAP, she oversaw the development and implementation of the transition assistance program providing career decision making services to service members and their families in the military-to-civilian transition.
She also worked for four years with the Department of the Army’s Child, Youth, & School Services (CYSS) organization. Joanna served in many leadership positions, to include Training & Curriculum Specialist, Assistant Director, Lead Child & Youth Program Assistant.
Habermann holds a bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology and a minor in German from Saint Lawrence University and a master’s degree in counseling and human development from Saint Lawrence University. In addition, she holds a certificate of advanced study in education, counseling, and human development. She is a member of the RWB and WWP. She currently resides in Carthage, NY with her two children, Jocelyn and Adelyn.
Edward Daniel, Fort Gordon
Edward joined the Onward to Opportunity (O2O) team in 2016 and serves as the O2O Program Manager at Fort Gordon, Georgia. He is responsible for the management, coordination, and administration of the O2O program across the installation. He works closely with O2O participants addressing student questions and concerns, assessing skills, monitoring progress, ensuring course requirements are met, providing career coaching services, and contributing to O2O team goals.
Edward is a retired Master Sergeant(E-8), who severed over twenty-one years in the United States Army. During his service, He held various positions and assignments throughout the United States Army. He is passionate about the seamless transitioning service members and their spouses. He is committed to securing meaningful employment through training, networking, and available opportunities.
Edward’s Military Awards include: Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters. His Recruiting Awards include: The Chief of Staff of the Army Award for Excellence in Recruiting, the Glen E. Morrell Award and the Gold Recruiter Ring.
Edward is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Information Security and Digital Assurance Management projected graduation date: October 2016. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College and an Associates in General Studies from Central Texas College.
Edward’s Professional Certifications and Affiliations include: International Standards Organization (Certified ISO 9001-2008 Lead Auditor and Management Practitioner). He is a member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
John Malfitano, Hampton Roads
Captain Malfitano, a native of Pearl River, NY, graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor of Engineering in Engineering Science. He was commissioned through the Aviation Officer Candidate School program in 1986, was designated a Naval Aviator in 1988, and reported to Norfolk, VA for initial training in the E-2C Hawkeye. He earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies with Highest Distinction from the Naval War College in 2001, and received the President’s Honor Graduate Award. He attended the Joint and Combined Warfighting School at the Joint Forces Staff College in 2007.
Malfitano has served at sea with the SCREWTOPS of VAW-123 embarked in USS AMERICA (CV-66), including combat operations during Operation DESERT STORM; as Department Head with the SEAHAWKS of VAW-126 embarked in USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65), participating in combat operations during Operation DESERT FOX; as Assistant Officer in Charge of a VRC-40 RAWHIDES C-2A detachment embarked once again in AMERICA; as executive officer of VAW-126 embarked in USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN-75), assuming command of the SEAHAWKS in 2005; and most recently from 2011-2013 as Chief of Staff to Commander, Carrier Strike Group EIGHT embarked in USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69).
During his tenure as Commanding Officer, VAW-126 was selected as recipient of the 2005 Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Battle ‘E’ Efficiency Award and the 2005 Commander, Naval Air Forces RADM Frank Akers Award for AEW Excellence. In 2006, he was selected by his community peers for the Navy-Marine Corps Leadership Award.
Ashore, Malfitano served as an instructor pilot and training landing signal officer with VAW 120, and attained qualification in the C-2A Greyhound (COD); as Flag Aide-de-camp to the Commander, Naval Training Center Great Lakes; as action officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations for the VCNO-chartered information technology study group, Task Force Web; as a Joint Staff Officer for NATO in the Strategic Engagement and Vision Branch at Supreme Allied Commander Transformation; and commanded Naval Station Great Lakes -the Quarterdeck of the Navy.
Malfitano has logged over 4,400 flight hours and over 500 carrier-arrested landings. He is authorized to wear the Legion of Merit (2 awards), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Strike/Flight Air Medal (3 awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (8 awards, 3 with combat “V”), and the Navy Achievement Medal.
In his most recent position as the Fleet & Family Readiness Program Director for Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, Malfitano lead over 3,000 staff members of the Fleet & Family Readiness (FFR) team in providing a full range of quality programs and services that enhance the lives of Sailors and families in support of mission readiness & retention. FFR encompasses three program areas: Family Readiness (Fleet & Family Support Centers), Fleet Readiness (Child & Youth Programs, Morale, Welfare & Recreation, and Food Service Galleys), and Housing Services & Lodging (Bachelor & Family and Navy Gateway Inns and Suites).