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Placement program for top military leaders looking for talent in SA

A first of it's kind program designed to help top military leaders move into high level executive positions will launch in 2017.

The Veterans Accelerated Management Program, VAMP, will begin the application process January 1, 2017 for the spring class and they are looking to tap talent all over Texas, including San Antonio.

"It already has a rich per capita population of veterans and veterans with a lot of talent," said Vetted Foundation board member, Joseph Kopser.

The goal of Vetted is to help transition high performing veterans seeking second careers into upper level positions in the private sector.

"You don't talk about return on investment; you don't talk about marketing strategies; but we're going to teach them those terms," said Vetted Foundation Executive Director, Aaron Whatley.

He knows from his own experience, how difficult the transition to civilian life can be.

"I had led 30 or so people in very trying conditions," Whatley said. "I'd done a lot as a 25 year old and I felt that was something that would translate into the private sector."

It did not immediately translate and it was admittedly a struggle for Whatley.

He is now hoping to help fill the education and experience gaps for veterans looking to transfer into upper level business positions.

"One of the most important things that they're going to learn is the language of business," Kopser said. "They're going to learn to take all of the acronyms they use in the military and replace them from time to time with civilian business terms."

The 7 month curriculum will include 5 months of online learning with the final 2 months in the classroom at the University of Texas at Austin or Texas A&M in College Station.

The executive education will also include a project where they will gain experience with a local business and get help with resumes and networking.

This is provided at no cost to the veterans but they will have to be "vetted" and selected for the program.

"We try to get veterans back enrolled in programs like this to put them out into the private sector to either work in great companies or create great companies," Kopser said.

One of the vetted foundation's partner companies is Bunker Labs, a non-profit designed to assist veterans who want to start their own business.

"People can transition out of the military or to through the Vetted program and for those that want to start companies, we'll be there to catch them," said Bunker Labs Executive Director, Johnathan Wogtewicz.

They are currently in a handful of cities throughout the U.S. including Austin, but have recently announced they will be opening up in San Antonio.

The focus is on the five pillars of support: Community, Connections, Customers, Coaching and Capital.

"Whether it's angel investors or venture capital or debt, we can help make those introductions to that capital component," Wogtewicz said.

"We think that by betting on veterans, it's a good return on investment, so this isn't a charity by an means," Kopser said.

Kopser said veterans have a lot to offer with their experience working in teams, their training working in high stress conditions, and their ability to focus on getting the job done.

"We spent our entire military career defending the dream of free enterprise and capitalism around the world," Kopser said. "Now, it's our turn to participate in the dream of free enterprise."

Information on the Vetted Foundation

Information on Bunker Labs

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