V-Wise Women Veterans. Women veterans have been paving the way for longer than many can remember or in some cases acknowledge. V-Wise: Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, focuses solely on women veterans, spouses or partners. And the power is in the connection. With roughly 200 women coming together for three days to brainstorm, share stories and make connections. There is a unique bond for females when they can come together in a safe environment. Immediately the need to prove they are “good enough” is removed because everyone around them understands the stereotypes which may exist. V-Wise empowers women veterans and military spouses/partners to find their passion and learn the business-savvy skills necessary to turn an idea or startup into a growing venture. In fact, 65% of V-Wise graduates have started and continued to grow their own businesses.
Onward to Opportunity–Veterans Career Transition Program (O2O-VCTP). If there is one thing veterans and family members are frightened of on the other side of military life, it is the concern of not having employment at all. Many technical trades are acquired by the service member overtime, and many spouses do things like volunteer and go without work for extended lengths of time. O2O-VCTP is an on-installation or virtual program for helping to lessen the fear of the unknown. Across 14 bases, and hopefully 18 by the end of the year, over 14,000 veterans and spouses have earned certifications making them more marketable for civilian careers. The program provides training in 30 different professional certification programs including direct-employment connections to over 500 companies.
America Serves. One last program which was very unique in regard to what IVFM is doing is America Serves. This particular service allows a community to give back to the military. Casey likes to say this specific application “allows the community to select the Institute.” The America Serves initiative, using a national technology platform from Unite Us, enables communities to communicate with one another all over the country. They bring together all the resources they have to service veterans and their families better and faster instead of having them go to multiple organizations. It’s about working together more efficiently. With this responsibility, the community can benefit long-term. It becomes a full circle of reward. And it ultimately gives what most veterans and their families are often looking for in the civilian sector: a sense of community and assistance.
As a military spouse whose hero is still active duty, there was something very enlightening about what Casey had to share with me, and it was the statistics. The proof is indeed in the pudding. Over 90,000 veterans, families, spouses, and partners have been successful with programs IVMF offers. The people who work for and the companies who support the cause honestly believe in the benefits of serving the less than 1%, and their families, who have served. The research is constant. IVMF is not afraid to say, “we do not understand, but we want to.” Their high-touch, or in my words sincere, approach within their programs shows they want the success rate to be consistently obtainable.
And then there was this one bit of information which throughout the whole interview Casey used openly and comfortably: These programs are free. Yes, free. The Institute for Veterans and Military Families, wants to give back to those who have selflessly sacrificed so much, and they want to assist the veteran population and their families to have the prosperous future they deserve.