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SU's Institute for Veterans and Military Families Celebrates 10 Years with Expanded Training

John Smith

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families is celebrating its 10th anniversary by helping more than 70,000 veterans with entrepreneurship training, and a large gift.  JP Morgan Chase has awarded the school with an $8 million grant to continue its national training initiative and research.

Monica Alvarado was in the technology sector for years beginning with her Air Force career. She attended a V-Wise conference at IVMF and then took a break from tech and rediscovered her love of cooking. Alvarado then opened Bread and Butter Kitchen, a breakfast café, in Annapolis, Maryland, but eventually came back to IVMF for seconds.

“About a year and a half ago I was at that point with the restaurant where I could figure things out, I knew how to manage my recipes and my staff, but I knew that if I wanted to grow I needed to extend my knowledge. That’s why I returned to IVMF,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado describes the training she received at the Institute as just what veterans need because it’s solely focused on veterans with an understanding that is not seen in the corporate world.

“Because we are veterans and because quite a few veterans, now in particular, have so many challenges from their experiences in the military, having that well-rounded understanding of what veterans’ needs are so helpful,” she said. “It really does make it special for the veterans.”

The recent gift by JP Morgan Chase will allow the institute to continue its programs as service members make the transition to their post-military careers.

In a recent IVMF survey, 31% of veteran spouses said they were experiencing long-term unemployment, averaging 3 times higher than unemployed civilians.  The Institute says it might mean veterans are being impacted disproportionately by the pandemic.