New Skills 2000 Initiative Recruits Military Personnel for IT Careers

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 1, 1999 — It’s no secret that the information technology field is in dire need of qualified workers. There are an estimated 346,000 job openings in the U.S. information technology (IT) industry alone, according to the Information Technology Association of America. With the field continuing to grow every year, matching qualified applicants with IT jobs is a high priority.

Meanwhile, more than 200,000 service members separate from the military every year, many of whom gained strong IT experience during their service and are seeking civilian careers. With their solid backgrounds, versatility and problem-solving skills, departing service members are a perfect fit for IT jobs.

To ease the transition from military life to the IT industry, Microsoft this week announced the Skills 2000 Military IT Career Initiative, which will help provide training, financial assistance and services to departing service members seeking IT careers. In conjunction with the Department of Labor, base Transition Assistance offices and major national placement agencies, the initiative will help match growing IT career opportunities with a ready and willing workforce. The program not only serves departing service members, but veterans, retirees, their spouses and dependents as well.

“Microsoft continues to focus on new audiences in recruiting talent into the IT industry,” said Sam Jadallah, vice president of the Organization Customer Unit at Microsoft. “The military audience provides an exceptional pool of talented, motivated individuals, many of whom are well suited for IT careers.”

The initiative is designed to assist service members with strong IT backgrounds as well as those who need more training to join the IT workforce. For those with IT experience, base Transition Assistance offices will refer qualified candidates to major job placement companies, including Adecco/TAD Technical, Manpower, Inc., Olsten/IMI and TEKsystems. Those looking for more training are referred to Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers (CTECs) and Authorized Academic Training Program providers in their area.

“I am so pleased that we are making it easier for men and women to get the high-tech skills they need to successfully move from the military to civilian jobs,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman. “Our veterans have proven their dedication and competency, we must now do all that we can to ensure they are successful after serving their country.”

The training programs accommodate persons at all levels of experience; training can be completed in weeks or months, and can also be done while still on active duty. Service members who need financial assistance can apply their Montgomery G.I. Bill funding toward training for IT careers, and low-interest loans are also available through the Microsoft Skills 2000 Career Loan Program.

Microsoft Skills 2000 is a program that addresses the IT workforce shortage by providing resources and guidance to people interested in developing technical careers. It aims to dispel the myth that only a certain type of person is “cut out” for an IT job and encourages people of all backgrounds to pursue careers in this growing field. The Military IT Career Initiative is just one of many outreach programs within the Skills 2000 program; other initiatives work to provide IT career training to people with low incomes, high school students and individuals age 55 and older.

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