REDMOND, Wash. — May 4, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it is inviting organizations to submit proposals for the Elevate America Veterans Initiative, which focuses on giving veterans and their spouses the technology skills and support resources they need to be successful in today’s civilian work force.
Through a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process, Microsoft will award cash, software and IT skills training curriculum to eligible veterans service organizations, work-force agencies, as well as other nonprofit organizations and their partners that are providing veterans and their spouses with the support they need to be successful in their transition to civilian careers. Support provided by these organizations may include technology skills training, job placement, career counseling and other support services such as childcare, transportation and housing. Organizations have until June 30, 2010, to apply to this initiative and successful applicants will be announced in August.
The RFP is the first phase of Microsoft’s Elevate America Veterans Initiative, which will provide $2 million in cash and up to $6 million in software and other resources over the next two years to provide veterans and their spouses with these necessary skills and resources. A second round of the competitive RFP process in 2011 will provide opportunities for the successful grantees to deepen their efforts based on results from the first phase and scale projects that have demonstrated effectiveness.
Microsoft announced the Elevate America Veterans Initiative in March as an extension of its Elevate America program, which has so far provided more than 600,000 vouchers for free technology training in 17 states and will be adopted by several more states in the coming weeks. Since this initiative was announced, Microsoft has convened organizations serving veterans to serve on an advisory committee for the Veterans Initiative over the next two years to help provide guidance and expertise throughout this process. Organizations on the advisory committee include The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Service Organizations (USO), and Wounded Warrior Project.
“Our servicemen and women who are separating from the military and reintegrating into their civilian communities and the work force face a tough job market,” said Pamela Passman, corporate vice president of Microsoft Global Corporate Affairs. “We know that access to technology skills training combined with critical support services can help them succeed, and we look forward to partnering with organizations that can help our veterans and their spouses through innovative approaches to job training and placement.”
Successful applications will include collaborative partnerships between two or more organizations in the nonprofit, work-force development, labor and education sectors. Applicants may request between $100,000 to $200,000 cash, not to exceed 50 percent of the total program budget, as well as software and IT skills training curriculum. The RFP and more information are available at www.microsoft.com/veterans.
“This is a great initiative that Microsoft has come up with and complements some of our programs for veterans and their families,” said Clarence Hill, national commander of The American Legion. “Our Heroes to Hometowns program helps wounded veterans with their return to the civilian world, and our Operation Military Family Outreach is geared toward helping service members and their families with the same kind of transition. Any program that helps our returning veterans find jobs in the current U.S. economy is a godsend, so we’re very pleased to see that the initiative includes skills training and job placement for veterans.”
“With the unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans teetering on 15 percent, this initiative could not be coming at a more critical time,” said IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff. “IAVA continues to be excited about this initiative and the potential for it to impact thousands of veterans nationwide. We are thrilled to be a part of this coalition and working with Microsoft on such a critical issue.”
“Paralyzed Veterans of America is proud to partner with Microsoft to elevate employment opportunities for the men and women who have served and sacrificed, and to help dramatically reduce the 85 percent unemployment rate for veterans with severe disabilities. All veterans and their families deserve a shot at what is at the heart of the American dream — a good job at a good company,” said Paralyzed Veterans National President Gene A. Crayton, whose organization is home to one of the nation’s most innovative career development programs for veterans with disabilities. The program, launched in 2007, helps veterans develop the skills they need to compete in the job market while matching them with businesses with vacancies. “Hiring more veterans represents a great deal for our country. Those who have served secure good careers. Employers get great employees. And, in turn, our economy becomes stronger.”
“We salute Microsoft for its ongoing support of the nation’s wounded veterans and wounded warriors,” said Sloan Gibson, president of the USO. “The community-based efforts to support these troops and ease the transition from military to civilian life will improve their lives.”
“Wounded Warrior Project believes it is our duty to empower wounded service members with the tools they need to embark on a path toward a successful and meaningful career,” said WWP Executive Director Steve Nardizzi. “We commend Microsoft for creating Elevate America and for shouldering responsibility for the training and transition of our wounded warriors into the civilian work force.”
More information on Elevate America is available at http://www.microsoft.com/ElevateAmerica.
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