Today, the Schultz Family Foundation announced a $7.5 million investment to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University to advance the Onward to Opportunity (O2O) program in support of veteran career preparation and employment.
Each year, approximately 250,000 veterans and their families transition from the military to civilian life. While returning service members have diverse skills demanded by today’s civilian labor force, these transitions too often leave veterans struggling to best align the experience acquired during military careers with the civilian workplace.
Today’s grant announcement coincides with the release of, “A Case for Patient Philanthropy: Supporting Jobs and Careers for Military-Connected Americans,” which details the rationale and impact of the O2O program. Funded through a grant from the Schultz Family Foundation, the white paper details the costs and consequences associated with a failed or sub-optimal employment transition for the service member, his or her family, and society.
020 is a first of its kind initiative operating on 18 military installations and virtually around the world with more than 8,000 participants enrolling annually. It’s available at no cost to transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses. O2O has provided in-demand skills training and certification to nearly 20,000 service members, veterans, and military spouses across all 50 states and abroad resulting in more than 11,000 of these individuals transitioning to employment. Thousands of others have gone on to pursue higher education and vocational training, or perhaps saved their credentialing for future employment as they continue their transition to the civilian world.
“Our goal at the Schultz Family Foundation is to support these men and women who have worn the cloth of the nation as they transition into civilian life,” said Howard Schultz, co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. “Onward to Opportunity is a win-win. The program allows our volunteer service members to be recognized for their knowledge, talent, and experience when they return home, and it connects employers to one of the country’s deepest pools of workforce-ready talent. We are proud to continue to partner with the IVMF, the U.S. Department of Defense, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and other leading private sector partners to ensure our veterans and their families make a smooth transition and achieve the same security at home that they made possible for the rest of us through their service.”
According to “A Case for Patient Philanthropy: Supporting Jobs and Careers for Military-Connected Americans,” unemployment or underemployment at the time of transition undermines the long-term financial health of the family unit, contributes to marginalized health outcomes, and has been linked to an increased rate of suicidal ideation among veterans.
O2O equips participants with certifications such as information technology (IT) project management, human resources, and cybersecurity—empowering them to secure meaningful post-transition job placements in high-demand fields. The program is fueled in part by more than 800 employer partnerships including with well-known companies such as Accenture, Apple, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Microsoft, Prudential, SAS, Starbucks, and USAA.
“The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University is honored to receive this grant, and continue the important work we’re doing alongside the Schultz Family Foundation to serve, support, and empower our nation’s veterans, transitioning service members, and their families,” says Dr. Mike Haynie, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation at Syracuse University and IVMF executive director. “Onward to Opportunity is an example of how together, public, private, and philanthropic partners can innovate and collaborate to address complex social and economic challenges impacting people and families deserving of our support. O2O continues to transform the transition experience for military service members and veterans, while at the same time creating a pathway for the nation’s employers to benefit from the unique skills and experiences represented by our veterans.”
About Schultz Family Foundation
The Schultz Family Foundation, established in 1996 by Sheri and Howard Schultz, aims to unlock America’s potential, one individual and one community at a time. It creates opportunities for populations facing barriers to success to ensure that their place in life isn’t determined by zip code, race, religion, gender, or sexual identity. Investing in innovative, scalable solutions, and partnerships, the Foundation focuses its efforts on two groups with enormous promise: the 4.6 million youth and young adults aged between 16 and 24 who are out of school and out of work, and the 3.8 million post-9/11 veterans and approximately 250,000 service members who transition from active, National Guard, or Reserve duty to civilian life each year. Visit SchultzFamilyFoundation.org for more information.Read the full report Read the full news story