Microsoft Deploys New Programs to Help Veterans Get Jobs
Nov. 10, 2010
Company awards grants to six organizations and boosts efforts to train and support employment of veterans.

NEW YORK — Nov. 10, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the recipients of its Elevate America veterans initiative grants and the availability of new education, job training and placement programs to help give veterans and their spouses the skills and resources they need to be successful in today’s civilian work force.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, last week’s unemployment report showed that although the overall unemployment rate last month remained steady, among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the unemployment rate rose last month to 10.6 percent (compared with 8.8 percent for nonveterans). Over the past six months, the average unemployment rate among those veterans has been 16 percent higher than the rate for nonveterans (10.7 percent compared with 9.2 percent). To help bridge this gap, Microsoft is awarding $2 million in cash and up to $6 million in software and information technology skills training curriculum to organizations that provide veterans and their spouses with the support they need to successfully transition to civilian careers. More than half of today’s jobs require some technology skills, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that figure will reach 77 percent in the next decade. The following organizations are receiving the cash and software grants:

  • Able-Disabled Advocacy Inc., San Diego; San Diego VetWORKS

  • Bellevue College, Bellevue, Wash.; Project SUCCEED

  • Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont Inc., Charlotte, N.C.; Elevate America’s veterans initiative

  • Gulf Coast Workforce Board, Panama City, Fla.; Mission: 21st Century

  • Per Scholas, New York and Miami, Fla.; Microsoft Veterans Employment Project

  • Veterans Inc., Worcester, Mass.; Veterans Inc. Employment and Training Program

The recipients will receive funding over the next two years to provide veterans with a comprehensive set of services, including technology skills training, job placement, career counseling and other support services such as childcare, transportation and housing. In addition to these organizations, Microsoft announced that it is offering software donations to each of the 100 organizations that applied during the competitive Elevate America veterans initiative grant process, in recognition of the important work they are doing with veterans and their spouses across the country, and to help reach even more veterans with the resources they need for success in the civilian workplace.

“More and more jobs in every sector of the economy demand technology skills,” said Curt Kolcun, vice president, U.S. Public Sector, Microsoft. “By partnering with organizations that have demonstrated expertise in education and skills training programs, we are proud to help provide resources to veterans and their spouses who need these skills to help them in the transition to civilian work and life.”

Microsoft collaborated with nationally recognized Veterans Service Organizations to provide guidance and feedback throughout the development of this initiative. The members of this advisory group have been instrumental in helping Microsoft determine the specific needs of veterans and how to effectively reach them. Members of the Elevate America veterans initiative advisory committee are The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Service Organizations (USO) and Wounded Warrior Project.

Per Scholas is pleased to receive an Elevate America veterans initiative grant,” said Plinio Ayala, Per Scholas president and CEO. “To compete in today’s job market, you must be a skilled, specialized worker. Our work-force development program will provide veterans with the specific skills they need to excel in the IT industry.”

“As our soldiers come home from Iraq, this is the perfect time for Veterans Inc. to expand its services in collaboration with the Microsoft Elevate America Veterans Initiative,” said Dennis Leary, Veterans Inc. Executive Director. “With this grant, Veterans Inc. will bring its successful, nationally renowned Employment and Training model to returning soldiers it has never served before, including members of the National Guard, reservists and their spouses.”

Microsoft Boosts Focus on Recruiting U.S. Military and Veterans

Microsoft has a long history of supporting the military and veteran community as an employer. The company’s Military2Microsoft program helps U.S. veterans and those serving in the National Guard and Reserves transition into the civilian work force and find job opportunities within Microsoft. The Military2Microsoft program incorporates a variety of resources to help make the job search experience easier for military talent. This includes the recent launch of WeStillServe.com, a site that connects transitioning military members to Microsoft’s employee-initiated group of veterans and helps match candidates to job opportunities within the company. The site includes the following:

  • A unique Microsoft Military Job Decoder tool to directly map military occupations to available Microsoft positions

  • A calendar of events to help service members meet and network with Microsoft employees who have transitioned from military service

  • First-person testimonials from current and ex-military Microsoft employees explaining what they do and how they transitioned

  • Integration with social-media communities Microsoft has established on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to help candidates connect with other veterans and service members, and to learn more about targeting their job searches and developing their skills

  • Live chats with Microsoft employees who have shared military experiences and can serve as advisors and advocates, discuss what it’s like to work at Microsoft and help candidates think through next steps in their job applications

Other Veterans Day Activities

Other Microsoft-sponsored activities in honor of Veterans Day and to thank U.S. servicemen and women include these:

  • A Kinect for Xbox giveaway. Veterans can be entered into a drawing by visiting http://tinyurl.com/2duv9lb.

  • Partnering with the USO to recognize and thank the military community by hosting a private showing of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, for more than 5,000 military members and their families. Tickets can be reserved online at http://www.usonyc.org/salute. This is part of A Salute to Our Troops, a national program founded in 2007 dedicated to showing Microsoft’s continued support of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

  • Sponsorship of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gala on Nov. 10 in New York and New York City’s Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11.

More information on Elevate America, including resources available for veterans, is available at http://www.microsoft.com/veterans.

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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