Veterans group receives $1m from Walmart Foundation

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University received a $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. IVMF will launch a competitive grant program for veteran vocational education at community and technical colleges in California, New York, Texas and North Carolina. 

This grant will seed, cultivate and provide technical assistance to a network of workforce development-focused programs at colleges that will leverage skills, training, credentialing and other efforts to advance the employment situation of veterans and transitioning service members. 

The program is part of the Walmart Foundation's $20 million dollar commitment to address veteran issues. 

"As one of the nation's largest private employers of veterans and those on active duty, we share in the vision of a country where every veteran has a chance to succeed economically and support his or her family," said retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Gary Profit, senior director of military programs at Walmart. "Walmart is committed to making that vision a reality by supporting organizations and programs that provide job and skills training to our veterans. These young men and women stood up for us, and now it's our turn to stand up for them." 

During the next two weeks IVMF will host a national, virtual listening tour using the Google+ platform to hear from veterans and other targeted stakeholders to learn what is most necessary in each region. These will be open to participants from VSOs, workforce organizations, business and industry, or education institutions. IVMF will then host state-level virtual listening tours, which will be open to veterans and those who serve them. 

"Continuing our partnership with the Walmart Foundation is an excellent opportunity for veterans, their communities, and for IVMF," says Mike Haynie, IVMF executive director and founder. "Training and certifying veterans for careers in the local economy ensures a robust and available workforce, spurs economic development, and builds community resources to serve veterans locally. We carefully selected with the Walmart Foundation four states to build these programs in, to demonstrate what works from our experience to date in communities, and to serve the areas with the highest numbers of veterans with significant unemployment, but with opportunities for a skilled workforce. Beginning with these resources, communities are in the best position to leverage local and national philanthropic giving, and to create opportunities that work in their regions." 

Immediately following the listening tours, IVMF will issue an RFP, require letters of interest and then invite full submissions from projects of interest. Full criteria for the RFP, letters of interest, planning grants and full grants will be made available to the public in mid-June. Reviews will be completed and grants up to $100,000 per project will be awarded by the end of August. 

As the first institute of its kind in the nation, the IVMF leverages the intellectual, programmatic and human capital resources of higher education in support of the post-service life course of the nation's veterans and military families. The IVMF focuses on developing impactful programming, cultivating actionable research, conducting policy analysis and providing technical assistance positioned to address the social, economic and public policy challenges facing the veterans' community. The IVMF team approaches this mission as a collaboration, forging enduring partnerships with government, private industry, institutions of higher education, philanthropic organizations and stakeholders committed to supporting transitioning service members, veterans and their families. 

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