Microsoft announces plan to train veterans for tech jobs

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 4, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced a new program to provide software development training and testing to U.S. active duty service members transitioning out of the military. The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy aims to offer America’s veterans the opportunity for new careers in the growing technology field.

“American service members possess the drive, self-discipline and problem-solving skills that are essential for the technology industry,” said Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith. “The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy is a bridge between one great career — serving in the U.S. military — and another, creating technologies that improve lives.”

The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy consists of a 16-week course to prepare U.S. service members to obtain the certification required for technology careers such as a developer, applications engineer and IT project manager.

Beginning as a pilot program with Saint Martin’s University at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state — the largest military installation west of the Mississippi — the program will be available later this year on key bases in California and Texas, with additional locations to be announced in coming months. Active duty service members transitioning from all branches of the military as well as members of the National Guard and Reserves returning to their civilian jobs are eligible for the academy.

In addition to receiving a Microsoft IT Academy-powered curriculum provided by Saint Martin’s University, service members who complete the pilot program will be hired into entry-level roles as software testers by either Microsoft or Launch Consulting, the technology consulting firm administering the program.

The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy was inspired by the “VOW to Hire Heroes Act,” legislation that was signed into law in 2011. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., allows service members to begin the employment process before their separation from the military to facilitate a seamless transition from the military to other jobs.

“Providing on-the-job training for transitioning service members into high-tech jobs is exactly what our legislation was written to accomplish,” said Sen. Murray. “Our veterans have the talent and training to succeed in any workplace, and the technology industry is a particularly great fit. This new program demonstrates that more employers see the value of what veterans offer, especially in jobs that require hard work and collaboration.”

The program is run on the base, allowing active-duty service members to easily receive training during the final stage of their military service. In December, the first group of 22 participants will complete the program.

“Unemployment rates are higher among veterans because it’s not always easy for service members to understand where their skills apply outside the military,” said Joint Base Lewis-McChord commander H. Charles Hodges Jr. “This program cuts through the uncertainty and helps service members transition into their next missions in the civilian workforce.”

The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy is part of the company’s broader efforts, through programs such as Microsoft YouthSpark, to help young people gain the critical technology skills required for today’s jobs. Further, the company’s commitment to supporting veterans is longstanding, and includes the following:

  • The creation of Elevate America for Veterans, a two-year program in which Microsoft invested more than $12 million in cash, software and related support that enabled veterans and their spouses to take advantage of technology skills training, certification, job placement, career counseling and other support services.
  • Development of Microsoft’s We Still Serve site, which provides translation of military skills to Microsoft job opportunities and connections with Microsoft employees who have served.

Microsoft’s broad support for the military community also includes active participation in many programs and organizations, including 100,000 Jobs Mission, the Student Veterans of America Success Corps and Hire America’s Heroes.

About Launch Consulting Group

Launch CG, is a division of Direct Technology — a leading Veteran-owned and operated technology consulting firm that fulfills the promise of technology. Launch designs and builds cutting edge new technological solutions that fuel individual & organizational growth.

About Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martin’s University is a Catholic Benedictine institution of higher education with a mission to empower students to pursue a lifetime of learning and accomplishment in all arenas of human endeavor. Saint Martin’s began offering programs at Joint Base Lewis McChord in 1972 and is currently one of 7 on-base schools providing education programs for the military community.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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