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Microsoft expands program to offer transitioning service members training for tech jobs

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SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

Service members stationed in California and Texas who are transitioning from the military are now eligible for the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy.

REDMOND, Wash., July 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced that its Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA), a 16-week program that provides IT training to eligible U.S. active-duty transitioning service members, is now operating at Camp Pendleton in California and Fort Hood in Texas. The program was first launched in 2013 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, where a third class is now benefiting from the program.

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With the addition of Camp Pendleton and Fort Hood, the MSSA is now assisting transitioning service members at two of the five largest military installations in the country, as well as the major Marine Corps base on the West Coast. With the expansion, nearly 90 service members are benefiting from or have already completed the MSSA.

On the heels of Monday's announcement, a ceremony will occur at Fort Hood where 10 service members who just completed the first MSSA class at the base will be recognized for their achievement. Officials from Fort Hood, Microsoft and Launch Consulting, a veteran-owned, veteran-operated technology consulting firm administering the program, will be on hand to congratulate them.

"These military bases are home to some of the most talented, dedicated professionals our country has to offer," said Microsoft Vice President of Military Affairs Chris Cortez. "We've expanded our program because we want more transitioning service members to have the opportunity to pursue rewarding careers at Microsoft and other technology companies."

In the 16-week course, participants are taught by professors from Saint Martin's University in Washington and Central Texas College, using a customized Microsoft IT Academy curriculum. Microsoft employees volunteer as mentors by connecting to the class through Lync and Skype. Through interactive lessons and mock interviews, participants receive training to help prepare them for the final step: the opportunity to interview at Microsoft.

Microsoft is focused on providing service members with opportunities for training and employment as they seek new careers. It operates a careers website, We Still Serve, with tips and resources for job seekers, a list of Microsoft job opportunities, and connections with Microsoft employees who are veterans. Microsoft also participates in the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the Student Veterans of America Success Corps and Hire America's Heroes.

"Training programs like the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy offer excellent opportunities for our transitioning service members," said Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas R. Gault, U.S. Garrison Fort Hood. "The beauty of programs like this is they develop the necessary skills that complement the talents of our service members while they are still in the Army - skills that translate into real job opportunities before they transition into civilian life. I would encourage any company that is looking for tough, hard-working, dedicated employees who demonstrate leadership to consider hiring our transitioning soldiers."

"I applaud the leadership at bases in three states, including Texas, for supporting a program that prepares transitioning members of the Armed Forces to begin rewarding careers in the technology sector," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "In the Senate, we share the desire to help these bright men and women translate their skills, aptitude and military experience into high-tech careers in the private sector."

The MSSA is part of Microsoft YouthSpark, the company's global initiative to help young people gain the critical technology skills required for today's jobs. Microsoft's establishment of the MSSA was made possible by the 2011 VOW to Hire Heroes Act. The bill allows service members to begin the employment process before their separation from the military to facilitate a seamless transition to other jobs.

"We supported the Vow to Hire Heroes Act because so many of America's heroes are transitioning from the military due to the drawdown from our engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Congressman John Carter, R-Texas. "Many service members already have what major technology employers need - leadership experience and an aptitude for complex problem-solving - and simply need to sharpen their technical skills. We hope to see more technology companies support a model like MSSA to help transitioning service members apply their many skills to the private sector."

For eligibility requirements, service members should contact the education centers at participating bases or visit WeStillServe.com/MSSA for general guidelines.

About Microsoft

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

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. Veteran owned and operated since 1996, they are on a mission to employ 1000 veterans in high-tech, high-skill, and high-trajectory careers.

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