IVMF – Career Preparation and Employment and AmericaServes
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) was established in 2011 at Syracuse University in New York with its founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. Since its inception, IVMF programs have grown to meet the needs of transitioning service members, veterans, and family members of both groups. This article focuses on two IVMF programs: the career preparation and employment program called Onward to Opportunity- Veterans Career Transition Program (O2O-VCTP) and the community services program called “AmericaServes.”
Career Preparation and Employment
IVMF’s career preparation and employment program is called Onward to Opportunity – Veterans Career Transition Program (O2O-VCTP) and is very similar to the work that DVOP specialists and LVERs do to prepare clients for employment and then match clients to companies that hire veterans. The program has a local presence in 14 military communities, but individuals can enroll from anywhere and the program is also available online nationwide for convenience. The program, supported by lead funders JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Schultz Family Foundation, offers free exams and professional certifications for in-demand industry programs. For example, O2O-VCTP offers certification for project management and the Project Management Institute’s exam. According to Beth Kubala, IVMF Senior Director for Programs and Services, “upon enrollment, a client goes through an intake process to determine what certification meets the client’s need while maintaining a focus on employment.” Once the client enrolls, IVMF staff are available to coach and encourage clients to complete training and certification, after which Hire Heroes USA takes over and works to place the individual with an employer. Program graduates can also take advantage of a host of post-program support offerings.
According to Ms. Kubala, who is herself a retired Army officer, AmericaServes was designed to “help veterans with the challenge of navigating across multiple organizations in local communities that provide services to veterans and their family members.” The IVMF partners with local service organizations to create a collaborative network of providers using the latest information technology. AmericaServes makes seeking services as easy as one-stop shopping. Each organization completes a profile of their services which is entered into the referral management system. Clients can contact a central referral management office or work with one of the network providers. In either case, referral specialists – typically social workers – assess the client’s needs during an intake process and then quickly matches the client to a service provider or providers. A referral is electronically generated and sent to the designated service provider outlining the client’s needs. A client may need the services of several organizations and the referral specialist works with the client to be sure the client receives the needed services. AmericaServes is currently in 16 communities across the United States. Ms. Kubala said the IVMF is planning to expand to other communities as the need grows. The benefit of a nationally-connected service organization supported by technology is vital to ensuring veterans can access the services and help they need quickly and efficiently from wherever they are.
DVOP specialists can tap into IVMF offerings for their clients by having clients enroll in appropriate IVMF programs. Having a working knowledge of all the IVMF programs and events will provide DVOP specialists with valuable resources. While LVERs cannot tap into IVMF’s employer network directly, having job-ready clients enroll with IVMF through O2O-VCTP allows the clients to access more than 500 employers through IVMF’s partnership with Hire Heroes USA. You can find more information about IVMF at https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/. The next article in this series will explore IVMF’s research program.
CALIFORNIA JOB CENTER HELPS VETERAN GET CAREER BACK ON TRACK
Editor’s note: This story was adapted from a post by the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Department.
Marine Corps veteran Gregory Lincoln was 59 when word came down that his IT specialist position was being eliminated. Gregory had more than 20 years of professional experience in IT and education-related fields, as well as degrees in business administration, criminal justice, and information technology. Unemployment was devastating.
“My family was facing our darkest moment ever and we had no hope,” Gregory says. “My wife and I just bought a home. I didn’t know where to turn.”
That changed when his local veterans’ center referred him to the High Desert America’s Job Center of California in Victorville. The support, encouragement, and guidance he received from his “angel crew,” as he calls them, put him on the path to success.
“I’d started thinking something was wrong with me. I was on the verge of losing my home and no jobs were coming in,” he says. “They came in and boosted my confidence when it was at its lowest level.”
INSTITUTE FOR VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES AT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY (IVMF)
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) was established in 2011 at Syracuse University in New York with its founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. According to Maureen Casey, IVMF’s Chief Operating Officer, “being associated with the university allows IVMF to take advantage of all the campus resources.” This benefits IVMF and its customers, because IVMF staff can reach across the University for highly qualified advice and assistance.
This article provides an overview of IVMF and is the first in a series of articles which will explore in more detail the four major IVMF programs: Career Preparation and Employment, Entrepreneurship & Small Business, Community Support, and Research. As we review each program, we will highlight ways DVOP specialists and LVERs can tap into IVMF to help clients.
IVMF serves transitioning service members, veterans, and family members of both groups. All of IVMF’s services and programs are offered to these groups for free. Since 2011, IVMF has served more than 90,000 customers. In its efforts to maintain and grow its free programs, IVMF depends on many sources for financial support. Some of these include government grants, non-profit foundation grants, corporate philanthropy, and individual donors.
To bring the highest quality programs to its customers, IVMF partners with federal, state, and local governments; the Uniformed Services; private and non-profit organizations; and countless veteran service organizations. By coordinating the work of many organizations, IVMF can do more for the thousands of customers it serves every year.
The four major IVMF programs provide a variety of services and support to transitioning service members, veterans, and family members.
- Career Preparation and Employment: IVMF offers a career skills program that provides civilian career training, professional certifications, and job placement support to transitioning service members, members of the Reserves or National Guard, veterans, and military spouses.
- Entrepreneurship and Small Business: In addition to the Boots to Business program, IVMF offers many programs targeted at helping veterans decide if they want to start their own business as well as programs designed to help customers be successful as entrepreneurs.
- Community Support: In 14 communities across the U.S., IVMF partners with other organizations to help veterans, transitioning service members, and their families access and navigate resources to meet their individual or family needs quicker and more efficiently by using a technology-based referral platform.
- Research: The Institute has assembled a multidisciplinary team of social scientists, applied research and evaluation methodologists, subject matter experts, and world-class institutional partners spanning the Syracuse University campus and beyond. This team conducts actionable research into and evaluation of a variety of programs related to IVMF’s customers.
DVOP specialists can tap into IVMF programs for their clients by having clients enroll in appropriate IVMF programs. Having a working knowledge of all the IVMF programs and events will provide DVOP specialists with valuable resources. While LVERs cannot tap into IVMF’s employer network directly, having job-ready clients enroll with IVMF allows the clients to access more than 500 employers through its proprietary partnership with Hire Heroes USA. You can find more information about IVMF at https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/. The next article in this series will explore the Career Preparation and Employment program.
Wisconsin Job Centers Help Employers Recruit Veteran Talent
Marcus Perez faced a common challenge among veterans when he left the US Army in 2014, translating his military experience and education to a successful civilian career. Despite using the Army’s career transition resources and studying resume writing resources, he was unable to land an interview.
Perez had the good fortune of leaving the service from Ft. McCoy, the only base in his home state of Wisconsin. There, he was referred to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Office of Veteran Employment Services – Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program in Lacrosse.
Using OVES’ statewide network, Perez quickly connected with DVOPs in northern Wisconsin where staff helped him select a target career field, tailor his resume and directly connect with employers that were actively seeking his expertise, including West Corporation where he accepted an offer and remains working as the Director of Human Resources.
“Connecting with the Office of Veterans Employment Services was a blessing that most veterans aren’t fortunate enough to have so early in their transition,” said Perez. “All veterans need to visit their Wisconsin Job Center for program assistance. It’s such a game changer.”
February DOL VETS and VSO Meeting
The monthly meeting between the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) and personnel and leaders from Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) around the country was held at the DOL Headquarters in Washington D.C. on February 2, 2018.
The meeting began with a brief overview of the HIRE Vets Medallion Program, where businesses will be recognized for recruiting, retaining, and employing veterans, as well as offering charitable services in support of the veteran community. The Program Demonstration kicked off on February 2, and will allow DOL VETS to initially run applications, raise awareness of the Program, and enable more employers to prepare to successfully garner recognition when the Program launches in 2019. This demonstration will use the same criteria the HIRE Vets Medallion Program will use in 2019.
The meeting then turned to priorities for the year and highlighting efforts in supporting the veteran community. Priorities focused mainly on transitioning service members, homeless veterans, and women veterans. Here are specific priorities from the different VSOs:
- Vietnam Veterans of America will be focusing on veterans with toxic exposure, homeless veterans, veterans with PTSD and substance abuse, women veterans, veterans in the justice system, minority veterans, and will also advocate for veterans starting their own businesses
- Paralyzed Veterans of America will be focusing on veterans’ healthcare and partnering with disability advocacy groups
- Legion will be focusing on homeless veterans, veterans’ small businesses, and transition services for women veterans
- Veterans of Foreign Wars will be focusing on apprenticeship, homeless veterans, and the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
- The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States will be focusing on data sharing between Veterans Affairs, DoD, Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Department of Labor
- The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) will be focusing on protecting healthcare and retirement benefits and military pay compatibility with the private sector
- Disabled Army Veterans will be focusing on TAP, women veterans, and the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program
- AmeriCorps will be focusing on connecting veterans with AmeriCorps and an apprenticeship program
- Easter Seals will be focusing on homeless veterans
- SBA will be focusing on their Veterans Business Outreach Center and Boots to Business training
- Troops to Education is focused on helping veterans become teachers and teaching support positions and expanding programs to include spouses
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will be focusing on women veterans, suicide prevention, mental health, TAP, and GI Bill funding for entrepreneurs
Here’s a brief roundup of services and resources shared at this month’s meeting:
- DOL VETS piloted a revised Career Technical Training Track program in Norfolk, Virginia, which will be rolled out in May. This course will help transitioning service members answer the question “What do I want to do and how do I get there?” It allows transitioning service members to conduct their own personal career exploration (matching interests, aptitude, and values), then research and chart a course to attain the necessary credentials to successfully attain that career.
- Vietnam Veterans of America will be holding the Veteran Small Business Forum on April 11, 2018. Find out more here.
- The Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach presented their 2017 Final Report, which included recommendations on ensuring quality employment for veterans after military service. The report focuses on three specific areas: barriers to employment for veterans, transition and training resources, and direct services for veterans and employers. The report will be available soon here.
- The Military Officers Association of America will be holding career fairs throughout 2018 which are open to all who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Military, and their spouses. Find more information below:
- Disabled Army Veterans will be holding national employment fairs and conventions. Find more information here.
- SBA will be holding its National Small Business Week from April 29 to May 5, 2018. Find more information here. Look out for the 2018 Veterans Small Business Week.
As always, visit dol.gov/vets and veterans.gov for more employment, transition, and training resources, and news.
This article focuses on several resources that are of interest to LVERs. Some of the resources in this article may be specific to a state or region.
Using the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to find Veteran Owned Businesses: The VA has a formal certification process for two designations – Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB). As a result of the certification process, the VA maintains a sizable database of veteran businesses. Anyone can use the database to find veteran businesses without registering with the VA. The web site is https://www.vip.vetbiz.gov/Default.aspx. Users can scroll down to the search function and enter a state or other criterion to get a list of veteran businesses that meet their criteria. One of the search criterion is “NAICS”. NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System. These are a series of codes that industry and Government use to identify the capabilities that a company can provide. LVERs can use the NAICS search to find a specific type of company in the local area which can increase chances of matching a client’s skill set to a possible employer. NAICS can be found at https://www.naics.com/search/.
Chambers of Commerce: Chambers of Commerce exist in almost any community across the country. Chambers of Commerce maintain a list of member companies and individuals and you can use this list to match clients to company needs. In addition, in larger communities, there may be more than one Chamber of Commerce. For example, in Denver CO and Washington DC (and elsewhere), there is a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that deals primarily with Hispanic-owned businesses. These sector Chambers can be a source of good leads for LVERs.
American Job Center (AJC): Don’t forget that your AJC has access to company profiles. Information may come from companies who advertise openings through your AJC, as well as from local, regional and state economic development organizations. Where an AJC is co-located with other social service organizations, those organizations may have their own company databases.
Non-Profits: Non-profits offer a source for matching clients to employers. In larger communities, there may be an association of non-profits. This association, like the Chamber of Commerce, maintains a list of their members and sometimes non-member non-profits. Working with the association can provide LVERs with opportunities to find meaningful employment for clients.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a good source of company information. You can search “Company XXX” and replace XXX with your locality and a list of companies will be generated.
Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) and Veteran Support Organizations: Many veteran-focused organizations maintain job boards for their members or for the public. These job boards can be a source of company information, as most VSOs also allow companies to post vacancy announcements on the VSO job board.
State Attorney General’s Office: Each state requires businesses to register with the state – typically with the State Attorney General’s office. LVERs may be able to access the resulting database to obtain a list of companies in the local area.
Tax Records: While this can vary from state to state, most states maintain public tax records by county. LVERs can access the tax record database to identify companies in the local area.
Company Licenses: Governments at the state, county or local level may require a company to have a license to operate. The resulting database (normally a publicly accessible website) can be an excellent source of information for LVERs.
RESOURCES FOR ASSISTING CLIENTS
While our articles normally cover a single topic, this article covers a number of short items of interest:
Improving Service Delivery at American Job Centers: Check out three articles on the Department of Labor’s WIOA web site that deal with enhancing services across the AJC: Enhanced Intake for All American Job Center Customers: A Functionally-Aligned Model; Organizing American Job Centers into Networks for the Delivery of Public Workforce Services; and Moving Toward Integrated Job Seeker Services: Collaboration Among American Job Center Programs https://strategies.workforcegps.org/announcements/2017/09/25/13/46/Improving-Service-Delivery-at-American-Job-Centers
2018 Forum-National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB): Registration is open for the March 24-27, 2018 NAWB meeting in Washington D.C. http://www.nawb.org/nawb/forum/
Analytics Training Program: SAS, a company focused on analytics, has partnered with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families to offer analytics training to veterans and their families.
Beginning in January 2018, the IVMF will offer two free SAS programming courses at 14 military installations around the US and also online. Participants can receive vouchers to sit for SAS Certification exams for free, redeemable at any Pearson Vue testing center. https://www.sas.com/en_us/news/press-releases/2017/november/ivmf-government-education.html#
National Resource Directory: The National Resource Directory is a resource website that connects wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers to programs and services that support them. Major categories of resources on their web site include: American Red Cross; Benefits & Compensation; Community of Care; Education & Training; Employment; Family & Caregiver Support; Health; Homeless Assistance; Housing; Military Adaptive Sports Program; Other Services & Resources; Transportation & Travelhttps://www.nrd.gov/misc/about_us
Arizona State University (ASU) – Global Freshman Academy: ASU, one of three State of Arizona public universities, has announced a new, innovative way for students to complete their first year of college called the Global Freshman Academy (GFA). The GFA offers the entire freshman year online. According to the ASU web site, there is no requirement for a transcript or an application, and students can begin immediately. The best part of GFA is that students pay $600 per course only after the student is happy with their grade and can retake the class to improve their grade if the student is not happy with the grade they earned. According to GFA (ASU) staff, veterans can enroll in GFA classes, but cannot use GI Bill (VA education) benefits to pay the $600 course fee. https://gfa.asu.edu/