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June 27, 2016

Onward to Opportunity (O2O) Program Kicks Off at Tri-Base Area Jacksonville (Fla.)

Onward to Opportunity (O2O) Program Kicks Off at Tri-Base Area Jacksonville (Fla.)

Career preparation program connects transitioning service members, active duty military spouses, and members of the National Guard & Reserve to the nation’s leading military-friendly employers.

PrintJacksonville, Fla. (6/27/16) – In the next five years, over one million military members and their families will transition to civilian life. For many, finding employment will be the most challenging part of their transition.

Today, 23 service members and military family members from Tri-Base Area Jacksonville began their Onward to Opportunity (O2O) journeys – a no-cost career skills program (no use of GI Bill Benefits) offering in-demand, industry-validated training and credentials.  O2O is a multi-phased process designed to help participants select the best training pathway, provide tailored training, and prepare our nation’s service members active duty military spouses, and members of the National Guard and Reserve for the process of successfully securing employment with one of our nation’s top military-friendly employers.

Offered on U.S. military installations across the country, O2O provides in-person and online training to the next generation of leaders of America’s economy.  The program partners with leading veteran service organizations and private sector companies to identify employers committed to training and hiring veterans and military spouses. These employer partners are engaged throughout each phase of O2O delivery by assisting in curriculum design, interacting with participants as they progress through the program and identifying specific career paths and interview opportunities within their company that align with the skillsets of our graduates.

“Tri-Base Area Jacksonville is excited to be the first Naval installation to be offering the O2O program to our transitioning service members and their families,” said Patricia A. Piazza, O2O Program Manager for Tri-Base Jacksonville. “We will be working with base and command leadership to market the program through Command Career Counselors, Command Indocs, FRG meetings, and Transition GPS classes in an effort to provide training and certifications to our transitioning service members and military spouses.”

Onward to Opportunity brings together the longstanding curriculum development and program delivery expertise of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (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 (SFF).

“The Onward to Opportunity program has the potential to fundamentally shift how the private sector engages and supports our service members and their families as they navigate the transition to civilian employment,” says 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, now being offered at Tri-Base Jacksonville, 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.”

For more information, visit www.onward2opportunity.com.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University Onward to Opportunity (O2O)
Wayne Westervelt, Director of Communications, IVMF
Mobile: (315) 558-9483, Email: wwesterv@syr.edu

Onward to Opportunity (O2O)
Patricia Piazza, Program Manager, Tri-Base Area Jacksonville
Phone: (904) 563-7980, Email: ppiazza@syr.edu

Tri-Base Area Jacksonville
Bill Austin, Mayport Public Affairs Officer
Phone: (904) 270-5226; Mobile: (901) 629-7145; Email: william.f.austin@navy.mil

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About Onward to Opportunity (O2O)
O2O is an industry-focused career skilling program that connects transitioning service members, active duty military spouses, and members of the National Guard and Reserve to high-demand careers in Customer Service Excellence and Information Technology.  Delivered by the IVMF at Syracuse University and supported by the Schultz Family Foundation, O2O partners with leading veteran service organizations and private sector companies to connect transitioning service members, military spouses and veterans with meaningful employment opportunities at companies across the country.

Onward to Opportunity (O2O) is a no-cost career skills program (no use of GI Bill Benefits) that partners with leading veteran service organizations and private sector companies to identify employers committed to training and hiring veterans and military spouses. These employer partners are engaged throughout each phase of O2O delivery by assisting in curriculum design, interacting with participants as they progress through the program and identifying specific career paths and interview opportunities within their company that align with the skillsets of our graduates.

About the Schultz Family Foundation
Announced in the spring of 2015, in conjunction with U.S. Secretary of Defense 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-9/11 and their families to successfully transition to civilian life. For more information about the Foundation and its work: schultzfamilyfoundation.org.

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Supported by a world-class advisory board and public and private partners committed to advancing the post-service lives of America’s service members, veterans and their families, the IVMF and its staff of more than 60 professionals deliver class-leading programs in career, vocations, and entrepreneurship education and training. The IVMF also provides actionable and national impacting research, policy analysis and program evaluation; coordinates comprehensive collective impact strategies; and works with communities and non-profits to enhance service delivery for veterans and their families. Read more at vets.syr.edu.

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