New Statewide Employment Partnership Helps North Carolina-Based Transitioning Service Members, Spouses Get Connected to Jobs, Skills Training 6 Months Before Leaving Military

Onward to Opportunity (O2O) has partnered with North Carolina for Military Employment (NC4ME), the state’s public-private partnership tasked with making North Carolina the number one state for military employment.

O2O_smallJACKSONVILLE, NC, Nov. 2, 2016 – Today, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced a new statewide employment partnership to help North Carolina-based service members and their spouses get connected to jobs and skills training six months before leaving the military through Onward to Opportunity (O2O), an initiative of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. O2O is a Department of Defense (DoD)-recognized career skills program offering high level training and certifications to transitioning service members and military spouses. Onward to Opportunity has partnered with North Carolina for Military Employment (NC4ME), the state’s public-private partnership launched by Governor McCrory in 2015. The mission of NC4ME is to make North Carolina the number one state for military employment.

“We educate employers on the value of hiring veterans and then we connect employers to job candidates that have the knowledge skills and abilities to deliver results,” said Kimberly Williams, Executive Director of NC4ME. By educating employers who might not be familiar with the value of veterans, NC4ME focuses on the demand side of the employment equation. The group works with North Carolina-based companies and government agencies to boost veteran hires. O2O prepares active-duty military service members and their spouses up to six months prior to them leaving the service arming them with technical skills and career certifications.

“By combining a nationally recognized career preparation program, like Onward to Opportunity, with statewide employers eager to hire, we have created a powerful one-two punch to make North Carolina the number one state for military employment,” said Governor McCrory.

“In the next five years, thousands of military members and their families will transition to civilian life. For many, finding employment will be the most challenging part of their transition. Preparing these young service members and their spouses for civilian job opportunities through a program like O2O is a win-win for both our state and our military installations,” said Cornell Wilson, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.

Onward to Opportunity will soon be offered on several of North Carolina’s major military installations. O2O is offered at no cost to participants and does not require usage of GI Bill benefits. O2O participants who complete one of the program’s 15 modules get the chance to complete an industry certification. Many participants graduate with interviews or job offers in hand. O2O also offers a “fast track” to employment for those that may already have significant experience or education, or who may be looking for part-time or supplemental employment opportunities. Graduates of the program are prepared to enter the workforce; benefitting the employers who hire them by reducing recruiting, hiring and training costs.

“The Onward to Opportunity program is excited to partner with NC4ME. Through this collaboration and a strong relationship with our military partners, we are able create a training and employment solution for our transitioning service members that is best suited to meet the needs of North Carolina’s employers,” said Dave Roddenberry, O2O National Director and U.S. Army veteran. O2O brings together curriculum development and program expertise from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and the support of career coaching, mentoring and placement support by Hire Heroes USA. The program is funded primarily by a grant from the Schultz Family Foundation.

“Onward to Opportunity’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,” says Dr. J. Michael Haynie, Executive Director and Founder of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families; and Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation at Syracuse University.

For more information, visit Onward to Opportunity or contact Amy Taft, O2O Program Manager, Camp Lejeune, at

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Media Contacts:

North Carolina for Military Employment (NC4ME): Kimberly Williams, 919.333.2120,

Onward to Opportunity: David Roddenberry, 919.798.2777,

About Onward to Opportunity
Onward to Opportunity is a no-cost career skills program—with no use of GI Bill benefits—offering in-demand training and career certification to transitioning service members and  military spouses. Offered on U.S. military installations across the country, O2O provides in-person and online training followed by job placement assistance to the next generation of leaders of America’s economy. O2O employers are 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. Read more at Onward to Opportunity.

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families 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. 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, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Read more at IVMF.

About the Schultz Family Foundation
The Schultz Family Foundation was co-founded in 1996 by Sheri Kersch Schultz and her husband Howard Schultz, chairman and ceo of Starbucks Coffee Company. Guided by a belief that an “inequality of opportunity” is stifling America’s potential, the Foundation invests in innovative programs and partnerships that unlock human potential, remove barriers to success and create new pathways to opportunity for important populations. The Schultz Family Foundation currently supports two national signature initiatives: Onward Youth and Onward Veterans. For more information, visit Schultz Family Foundation or follow us on Twitter.

About North Carolina for Military Employment (NC4ME)
North Carolina for Military Employment (NC4ME) is a comprehensive public-private partnership designed to make NC the number one state for military employment. Established by Governor Pat McCrory in 2015, NC4ME leverages existing workforce development resources and technology to implement an employer-centric strategy that:

  • Educates NC’s business leaders on the value of hiring a military workforce,
  • Shows small businesses and human resource professionals how to hire military personnel, and
  • Connects military talent to open jobs, education, and training opportunities in North Carolina.

By centering its focus on the “demand side” of the employment equation, NC4ME serves as a perfect complement to the vast number of programs currently preparing veterans for civilian employment and gives a much needed boost to military job seekers in North Carolina. More than just the “right thing” to do, hiring veterans drives business results for North Carolina’s employers and economic growth for the state.  Learn more at North Carolina for Military Employment.

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