How the IVMF serves veterans, servicemembers and families

The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast this week welcomes Air Force veteran Mike Haynie, the founder and executive director of the Institute for Veterans & Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University.

Dr. Haynie, a vice chancellor at Syracuse, 10 years ago founded the IVMF. It is the nation’s first interdisciplinary institute designed to inform and advance the policy, economic, and wellness concerns of veterans and families.

In 2007, Haynie created the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans, the seed for today’s IVMF.

“It was just going to be my thing, something that was meaningful to me. That program had much greater impact than any of us thought,” he said, noting that other universities reached out and wanted to support the program.

Over the next two years, the program expanded to universities such as UCLA, Texas A&M, Purdue and Florida State. “That was a lightbulb moment. In higher ed, we tend to think of the outcome ultimately being a degree but here was an opportunity to repurpose the intellectual capital of higher education to have immediate impact on someone’s life to provide transition intervention.”

That success spurred the creation of a program for women veterans, V-WISE: Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. Soon, others would follow to serve even more veterans.

IVMF, which received The American Legion’s Patriot Award in 2020, was officially founded 10 years ago. It is free for transitioning servicemembers, veterans and military families. Its programming is focused on career preparation, entrepreneurship, community services navigation, research and higher education.

Now, more than 20,000 students go through IVMF annually. To date, the institute has served more than 170,000 participants.

“It’s been a pretty remarkable journey and it’s had such an impact,” Haynie said.

If you are interested in more episodes related to transitioning for servicemembers, check out our special four-part series from last month:

Part 1: Two veterans who are Disney executives talk about their company’s programs for veterans, how transitioning servicemembers can get into that type of industry.

Part 2: Focus on transformation, rather than transition.

Part 3: Air Force veteran shares practical advice about career transition. 

Part 4: Meet a Black veteran who pursued and realized his dream of getting into the entertainment field.

This new episode is among more than 130 that are all available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available for viewing at the Legion’s YouTube channel.