Inspired by programming offered by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) today introduced the Onward to Opportunity Act. This bipartisan bill aims to help military families make a more seamless transition to civilian life by expanding workforce development services for servicemembers, veterans, and their spouses.
Currently, service members transitioning out of the Armed Forces are required to participate in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), a program intended to help them prepare for civilian life. However, TAP only lasts one week and requires servicemembers to digest information on a broad range of topics, from accessing Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits to finding employment opportunities and starting small businesses. To supplement TAP, the IVMF at Syracuse University, together with philanthropic partners, launched Onward to Opportunity (O2O) in 2015. The O2O program was designed to assist service members, veterans, and their spouses in achieving greater post-military service career opportunities by delivering free self-paced training, industry-recognized certifications, and job placement assistance. A study published by Penn State University in 2020, revealed that individuals that had participated in transition enhancement programs such as O2O experienced improved economic opportunities.