JPMorgan Chase & Co. is committing more than $1 million to support military veterans in North Texas. The funds will help veterans make the transition to civilian life by training them in the IT industry via NPower, encouraging veteran entrepreneurs through a local Bunker Labs chapter, and supporting free mental health services with an investment in Headstrong.
“We should do all we can to support those who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedom. We want to be the employer of choice for veterans and bank of choice for veteran owned businesses,” Doug Petno, CEO of Commercial Banking at JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement. “To help accelerate our efforts, we’re excited to partner with great organizations like Bunker Labs, Headstrong, and NPower to provide veterans unique access to training, coaching, and capital to help them succeed.”
A $250,000 JPMorgan Chase commitment will establish Headstrong’s first DFW office, according to a statement. The nonprofit and provider of free mental health services for post-9/11 veterans and their families will also work closely with national veteran service organizations as well as other local affiliates.
“As a combat veteran of two Iraq tours, I understand the issues soldiers can face upon return to a non-combat zone. PTSD can manifest in a large variety of ways and the numbers of those suffering are staggering,” Zach Iscol, Headstrong co-founder and chairman, said in a statement. “The VA estimates we lose 20 veterans a day to suicide and the Department of Defense has reported 30-50 active duty troops take their lives every month.”
JPMorgan Chase has supported the nonprofit Bunker Labs since 2015 and increased its support this year with a $3 million nationwide commitment to help the organization establish chapters in all 50 states by 2021. The launch for the DFW chapter happened on November 20 with an entrepreneur forum, a fireside chat, and breakout sessions on topics such as access to capital, branding, digital marketing, and advice for establishing a successful, independent business. The local chapter joins other Texas locations in Austin and San Antonio.
Bunker Labs works to address a shift in veteran startup founders. Almost half of the returning veterans from World War II opened and operated businesses. That number fell to just over 40 percent for Korean War veterans and only 5.6 percent of post 9/11 veterans have started their own business, although almost 25 percent expressed interest in becoming entrepreneurs, according to a 2004 Small Business Administration study.
During the Bunker Labs DFW launch event, Todd Connor, CEO of Bunker Labs, remarked on why the company chose to launch in Dallas.
“It’s an ecosystem that is going to let military veterans and their families step in and get the maximum chance at success,” Connor said during the event.
For IT job training, JPMorgan Chase is making an $884,000 local investment in NPower, a national nonprofit that provides digital skills training and job placement services for veterans. It gives veterans training in IT areas like cybersecurity and coding—opening the opportunity for a 70 to 200 percent increase in salary. Overall, the banking organization is investing $2.3 million in NPower for job training in DFW, California, and New Jersey.
“The men and women who serve our country through military service make sacrifices and commit themselves to excellence in duty. It is only right that we help make their transition to civilian careers as successful as possible,” Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO of NPower, said in a statement. “The resilience, creative problem-solving abilities and technical acumen demonstrated by veterans make them excellent candidates for high-growth tech careers; we simply provide the skills and connections they will need to secure the jobs of the future.”
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