Hiring America’s Heroes: Microsoft testifies on helping veterans transition to civilian careers

On Tuesday, Microsoft will present testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives committee highlighting best practices in hiring and retaining veterans in private sector jobs.

Sean Kelley, senior staffing director, Cloud and Enterprise Group & Military Recruiting at Microsoft, will join representatives from Walmart, JP Morgan Chase & Co., the International Franchise Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation at the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing entitled “What can the Federal Government Learn from the Private Sector’s Successful Approach to Hiring Veterans?”

The national unemployment rate for veterans is unacceptably high, particularly for the youngest veterans (ages 18-24). As the drawdown of our troops continues, now is the perfect time for a national dialogue about public – private partnerships to help service members transition to great careers.

At Microsoft, we have thought a lot about ways to transition these men and women into information technology careers. Inspired by the 2011 “VOW to Hire Heroes Act,” Microsoft last year announced the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA), a 16-week course to help U.S. service members obtain the skills required for careers such as a developer, applications engineer and IT project manager. This program leverages public and private partnerships to create a seamless military-to-employment transition at no cost to the service member. As the pilot program expands to other bases, we are confident that program graduates will be prepared to compete for jobs in a vibrant, growing sector of the economy.

The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy is part of our 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, our 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 is fully committed to innovate, invest and participate in a circle of solutions that bring our veterans into the careers of the future. We’re looking forward to Sean’s testimony today before the House Veterans Affairs Committee to share our experiences.

Additional information on today’s hearing and the webcast can be found on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs site. Additional details on the MSSA program and Microsoft’s veterans initiatives can be found on The Official Microsoft Blog. We also encourage you to read about a veteran’s experience in the MSSA program through participant Bernard Bergan’s “Combat to Coding” blog post.

About the Author

Policy Counsel, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft