Microsoft joins House Veterans subcommittee on economic opportunity for a learning roundtable

We know that we all have more to do to help the 200,000 U.S. service members transitioning annually to civilian life. On Thursday, I had the honor of joining the House Veterans subcommittee on economic opportunity for a bipartisan roundtable discussion on the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and learning avenues for service members and veterans. The group discussed the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA), our program which offers transitioning service members and veterans intensive tech training, mentorship and career guidance, with a guaranteed interview for a position at Microsoft or one of our 250 hiring partners upon completion. Microsoft is the first tech industry business to provide this formal career skills program for service members before their separation date, and it is a cornerstone of the Department of Defense SkillBridge program.  And according to the Army’s Installation Management Command, career skills programs like MSSA have saved the U.S. Army over $900 million in unemployment compensation expenditures (UCX).

While we discussed a few different training opportunities by various organizations, only Microsoft’s Software and Systems Academy has been providing tangible and life-changing employment at a rate of 96 percent for those who go through the program. We’ve partnered with hiring partners around the country, which are now paying our graduates an average salary of $70,000 to $90,000. MSSA provides relevant training that leads to meaningful, life-changing careers for our veterans.

It was an honor to take part in this high-level conversation with some of the top veterans’ organizations, educational institutions, and leaders from across the country. As a veteran and a product of the Montgomery G.I. Bill, I know firsthand the importance of supporting our military and how important it is that leaders in the technology industry, like Microsoft, step up to support the men and women who have proudly served our nation. Not only is helping our veterans a moral imperative, but programs like MSSA help meet the high demand for cloud developers, cloud administrators, and database and business intelligence administrators in the IT industry.

March 9, 2017 photo of Microsoft official meeting with House Veterans subcommittee on economic opportunity in Washington, D.C.

Danny Chung, Microsoft Military Affairs chief of staff, speaks to the House Veterans subcommittee on economic opportunity on March 9, 2017 about Microsoft’s programs to support veterans.

MSSA is now operational at Camp Pendleton, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Fort Campbell, Fort Benning, and Fort Bragg.  Over the next year, MSSA will also be offered as an off-base community model at San Diego and Jacksonville, as well as on base at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Camp Lejeune, Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Carson and Fort Bliss.  We also recently expanded to include cybersecurity as MSSA’s newest learning path, helping to give veterans the resources they need to be strong candidates for roles in the critical and growing field of security administration. Cybersecurity joins three other MSSA key knowledge areas: Server and cloud administration; database and business intelligence; and cloud application development.

Today’s veterans continue to face an increasing challenge of how to secure the right education or training program to best prepare themselves for the modern workforce. Microsoft is grateful that members of Congress are actively engaged in this discussion, and we are excited about future opportunities to better support and include those who have so proudly served our nation.

To learn more, visit the Microsoft military site.

About the Author

Chief of Staff of Microsoft Military Affairs