Military Veterans Matched with Mentors

American Corporate Partners (ACP) is a nonprofit organization based in New York that is dedicated to helping military veterans transition into a civilian career. Military veterans in Jacksonville have a wonderful opportunity to link into this important and free civilian career service, which provides a one-on-one, year long mentorship between a veteran and willing business mentor in their field of interest.

“ACP has been built upon the understanding that returning veterans need the tools for long-term career development through mentoring, career counseling and networking opportunities,” says Sid Goodfriend, founder and chairman. “With our mission at the forefront of our efforts, ACP continues to grow and serve an increasing number of returning vets.”

Mentors in Jacksonville from CSX and CitiBank are already stepping up to the plate. In Jacksonville, veteran Michael Craig is working with a mentor from Johnson & Johnson, who is located in Pennsylvania. Together, they are working on Michael’s small business, The Silly Faces Project, a current project to create children’s books using his drawings.

“Having been at J&J for over 20 years, there is a strong belief in the need to network and build mentorships throughout the organization. I have been involved in this for most of my career, and what gets me most excited about the ACP program, is that we are now able to mentor outside of J&J as well.” Says mentor Chris Calabretta.

“I have really enjoyed being part of the ACP mentor program for two main reasons. First, I am honored to work with our Veterans. It is one way I can say “thank you” for all that they have sacrificed. Secondly, I enjoy the collaborative, innovative and thought provoking conversations that I have with these very driven and focused people. They really want to succeed!

J&J is widely known for Our Credo, a guiding document that we use in our everyday activities. Being a part of this program is in direct alignment with Our Credo, as one of the key tenets is our responsibility to the communities in which we live and work. This program helps me fulfill this promise.”

“My mentor is helping me by critiquing the products I have developed, the books, art, and silly faces trading cards,” says Craig, whose website is He is more than half way through the mentorship, focusing on entrepreneurship. “I’m very appreciative that there are people who give their time to mentor others. ACP is great, and they take care of any concern or issues that come up. They give me guidance and are interested in seeing the mentor and mentee work together to succeed.”

Veteran Dan Bearl started last September, and is working with a local CitiBank mentor in Jacksonville. Bearl went back to school at UNF, and is beginning a career in the IT industry, the same industry as his mentor. This experience is giving Dan firsthand knowledge and specific information about developing a career path in the IT industry.

“When I went back to UNF, I obtained Veterans’ Assistance, so, I was on the mailing list and received information about American Corporate Partners,” says Pearl. “I was in the U.S. Army and deployed to Iraq three times. The transition can be very difficult. My mentor and I meet one-on-one and once a month in Jacksonville. Plus, we are both in Jacksonville. He helps me recognize the pitfalls.”

About Joanelle Mulrain