Leaving Service? This Institute Can Help You Take Your Next Step

Leaving Service? This Institute Can Help You Take Your Next Step
Servicemembers attend a Boots to Business seminar, a two-day program that's now delivered virtually by Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families. (Army photo)

In late July, MOAA hosted a Virtual Networking Evening for over 135 registered participants to facilitate the introduction to resource specialists and networkers from across the country. One of the valued contributors, Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) offers innovative programs in career, vocation, community care and entrepreneurship education and training to post-9/11 veterans and active duty military spouses for free, as well as tailored programs to veterans of all eras. 


Supported by a world-class advisory board and public and private partners, IVMF also provides actionable and national impacting research, policy analysis and program evaluation, and works with communities and nonprofits across the nation to enhance service delivery for the 22.5 million veterans, and their families, throughout the United States.


[RELATED: Register for MOAA’s Oct. 1 Military Executive Transition Seminar]


Here’s a look at two of IVMF’s many offerings:


The Onward to Opportunity (O2O) course is open to:

  • Any active duty servicemember who will transition from military service to the civilian workforce in the next six months with an honorable discharge.
  • Any veteran separated or retired from the military with at least 180 days of service and an honorable discharge status
  • Any member of the National Guard and Reserve currently in a part-time status (servicemembers on active duty status in the National Guard or Reserve are subject to the active duty eligibility)
  • Spouses of any active duty U.S. military service member, U.S. veteran, and active member of the U.S. National Guard or Reserve.


The program “provides employability skills training and offers curriculum to participants covering both technical and soft skills, serving as the gateway to employment opportunities in over 40 different in-demand career fields,” said Lt. Col. Mike Bianchi, USA (Ret), senior director of education and career training at IVMF.


Like other higher educational programs, IVMF has adapted its services to stay connected during the global pandemic. Normally offered at 19 military installations and online for distance learners, O2O transitioned to fully virtual in response to COVID-19 and will resume in-person delivery when it is deemed safe to reintegrate into the classroom.


In addition to O2O, IVMF offers Boots to Business (B2B), a two-day introduction to entrepreneurship for servicemembers and spouses interested in business ownership set to transition out of the military in the next 12-18 months.


[RELATED: Transition and Career News From MOAA]


Normally, B2B is offered as in-person training on military installations around the country, but in light of COVID-19 and the related travel restrictions IVMF shifted to deliver the B2B program virtually with no drop in attendance or engagement. 


“Since the pandemic began, we have held 11 B2B trainings in seven countries including Japan, South Korea, Italy and Germany, meaning an additional 150-plus military servicemembers and spouses have been able to take their first steps toward post-service entrepreneurship despite the limitations COVID-19 has imposed across the world,” said Misty Stutsman Fox, IVMF’s director of entrepreneurship and small business.


Choosing Your Course

How can an interested participant know which IVMF program or course offerings are right for them? While enrolled in IVMF programs, the Institute’s Advising Services team offers its participants curriculum coaching, support for course completion, resource referrals, and industry certification guidance to ensure each participant is postured to achieve their civilian career goals.  


In addition to supporting post-military careers by complementing military skill sets/training, they also may lead to in-demand industry certifications through their partnerships with leading corporations to identify skills gaps and provide curriculum to prepare them for the modern workforce.


You can find more information on the full range of IVMF programs at the IVMF website. See more of what MOAA offers at our Transition and Career Center.


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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.