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Whitman's two newest military-related programs highlighted in President's report on strengthening military families

January 25, 2011

Jaime Winne Alvarez
(315) 443-3784

U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday unveiled an unprecedented government-wide plan of commitment to strengthen support for military families, offering a glimpse at some of the new programs and cooperative efforts being launched in the coming months to improve quality of life and well-being for families of our nation’s military.

whitmanlogoAmong the programs outlined in the report, titled “Strengthening our Military Families: Meeting America’s Commitment,” are two new small business-related efforts for veterans and their families being made by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

Veterans as Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) and Operation Endure & Grow were developed by Whitman in cooperation with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to further complement the veteran outreach efforts of the Department of Defense.

“Given our proven track record empowering veterans through entrepreneurship, based on the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) and EBV Families (EBV-F), the SBA approached us to create from scratch and deliver new programs for women vets and guard/reserve personnel,” says Mike Haynie, national executive director of EBV Programs, Barnes Fellow and assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the Whitman School. “The discussions between Whitman and the SBA resulted in a $2.6 million contract to Whitman for the design and delivery of V-WISE and Operation Endure & Grow.”

V-WISE and Operation Endure & Grow will serve more than 1,700 individuals. According to the SBA, nearly one-quarter of vets indicated they are interested in starting a business or owning a small business. The percentage is even higher among female veterans. The first V-WISE program will take place in May 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Operation Endure & Grow will also launch in May 2011.

V-WISE is part of Whitman’s existing WISE Women’s Business Center, a resource for women entrepreneurs at all stages of business development. The V-WISE initiative is a premier training program in entrepreneurship and small business management. V-WISE provides training, networking and mentorship to women veterans through a three-day, off-site training program, online training and network support structures. V-WISE will be presented in several different locations throughout the country, and anticipates serving as many as 1,200 female vets over the next 36 months.

Operation Endure & Grow targets National Guard and reserve members, their families and business partners to mitigate the economic hardship of deployed members and their families. The eight-week online course focuses on the fundamentals of launching and growing a small business, for those who will sustain the business when service members are deployed, injured or killed.

The president’s report calls for enhancing military families’ well-being and psychological health, developing military spouse career and education opportunities, increasing child care availability and quality, and ensuring excellence in military children’s education and development. In total, Obama said his administration is making nearly 50 specific commitments to military families.

Speaking from the East Room of the White House on Monday, Obama stood with First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of vice president and SU College of Law alumnus Joe Biden ’68.

“Today, I’m proud to announce that for the first time ever, supporting the well-being of our military families will be a priority not just for the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, but all across the federal government,” said Obama.

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