One employer making a mark in the area of philanthropy for veterans is First Data Corporation. This global leader in payments technology recently announced a $7 million dollar seven-year commitment to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University.
This initiative touches on the company's commitment to veterans in two ways: both as an employer of veterans, and as a provider of services to veteran-owned businesses. With a particular focus on veterans transitioning out of the military and back into civilian life, this grant will go toward education, research, training and job opportunities for veterans and their spouses pursuing business careers.
As part of the company’s larger commitment to the military community through First Data Salutes, the new support for IVMF is aimed at making First Data the "employer of choice for veterans and military spouses." So while helping veterans to gain skills and training needed, First Data is also hoping to attract these newly trained workers to the company.
This is First Data's first contribution to IVMF's ongoing programs and will help the institute develop a Center for Excellence focused on veteran entrepreneurship, with its own director and staff within IVMF. This new center is an important development in terms of serving the veteran small business owners population. While veterans make up 6 percent of the U.S. population, they constitute more than 13 percent of U.S. small business owners, a point which Mike Haynie, executive director at IVMF, emphasizes in terms of First Data's mission to both serve and employ the veteran population.
“This partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families will provide thousands of new veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs with exceptional education, training and resource opportunities to help them build their businesses," said Haynie in a statement about the new grant money.
In 2014, First Data set a goal to recruit and hire more veterans and their spouses, and started to work toward that goal with an increase from two to 10 percent. The company also prides itself on being a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for its work in hiring and supporting Guard and Reserve employees.
Employment and business support is definitely a big key to helping veterans return from service and successfully rejoin civilian life at home. With this large, long-term commitment from First Data Corporation, the cause of veteran support has gotten a significant boost.