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Syracuse University leads new national partnership of four major universities to support veterans with disabilities
Syracuse University leads new national partnership of four major universities to support veterans with disabilitiesFebruary 19, 2008Amy Schmitzaemehrin@syr.edu
The year 2007 was the most violent for American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines wounded in the war on terror is now nearly 40,000. Further, the number of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress and other psychological challenges resulting from their service suggests the number of Americans disabled supporting military operations since 9/11 has exceeded 100,000. For many of these Americans, traditional employment may represent a lifelong challenge.
Throughout American history, entrepreneurship has been a means for veterans to make a way for themselves and their families, and to re-engage the economic engine of their communities and ultimately the nation. Business ownership offers veterans the opportunity to “own their futures” while also offering the flexibility to accommodate the unique challenges associated with a service-connected disability.
Building on an innovative program created in 2007 by Syracuse University to expand the reach of educational programs in entrepreneurship available to veterans, the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University will lead a nationwide partnership with the UCLA Anderson School of Management, Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and Florida State University’s College of Business to offer cutting-edge training in entrepreneurship and small business management to veterans with disabilities. This consortium represents one of the first, significant partnerships since WWII among some of the country’s most prestigious business schools focused specifically on opening the doors of America’s colleges and universities to veterans motivated by business ownership.
The consortium is an extension of SU’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program, first developed and offered by the Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises in the Whitman School. The inaugural EBV program took place in summer 2007 at SU and enrolled 20 veterans with disabilities resulting from their support of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The EBV integrates world-class faculty, entrepreneurs, disability experts and business professionals in an educational program focused on training veterans in the competencies associated with small business ownership.
“Syracuse University and the Whitman School are proud to lead this new nationwide partnership,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “By expanding our innovative Bootcamp program across the nation, we will provide disabled men and women who have served abroad the resources and training to help them follow and pursue their dreams as they rejoin their communities at home.”
The four-university EBV partnership will dramatically expand the ability to offer this valuable program to veterans with disabilities. At all four institutions, the EBV curriculum will be standardized, ensuring that all participants receive a consistent, high-quality experience.
“This consortium is an important and meaningful extension of the EBV program offered at the Whitman School and is the only academic partnership of its kind aimed at this unique group of American citizens,” says Melvin T. Stith, dean of the Whitman School of Management and a former U.S. Army captain. “On behalf of all of the four participating national universities, we are proud that institutesof higher education are stepping in to fill what is clearly a void for these veterans.”
The EBV program is offered in three phases. Phase I is a self-study session in which the veterans complete courses through online discussions moderated by university faculty. Phase II requires that participants travel to their participating EBV university, where they will become immersed in a nine-day residency, learning to develop their own business concepts and understanding the basic elements of small business management. Phase III involves 12 months of ongoing support and mentorship provided to the veterans from the faculty experts at the EBV universities. Throughout the EBV experience, students engage in experimental workshops to write business plans, raise capital, attract customers, and develop a marketing strategy that is most effective for their business model.
The EBV curriculum will be taught by world-class entrepreneurship faculty and expert guest speakers. For the participating veterans, the program will be entirely free, including travel and accommodations.
“By offering veterans with disabilities the tools to create and grow their own businesses, we are helping them fight yet another battle — the battle for their own economic freedom,” says Mike Haynie, assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the Whitman School, creator of the EBV and a former U.S. Air Force major. “There is, perhaps, no better way to thank them for their extraordinary service than to demonstrate our confidence in their bright futures.”
Applications for the EBV are accepted on a rolling admissions basis, which means application for the program is always open. However, while there are no application deadlines, admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Early application is encouraged. To create disability-related curriculum and assist participants in understanding and leveraging programs at the intersection of disability and entrepreneurship, the EBV is offered in collaboration with SU’s Burton Blatt Institute, which seeks to advances the civic, economic and social participation of persons with disabilities.