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Microsoft has developed several training programs for veterans over the past decade, and the company is launching another program in our region in October. The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) is an 18-week educational program that Microsoft conducts in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU.) It provides active duty soldiers and veterans with the necessary career skills to meet demand for server & cloud administration, database & business intelligence administration, cloud application development, and cybersecurity administrators.
The program is one of few that trains active-duty U.S. service members for IT jobs and is a cornerstone of the DoD Skillbridge program, which prepares members on active duty for their next career. Classes in Fleming Island will start October 16.
Chris Cortez, vice president of Military Affairs at Microsoft, says “Each year, more than 200,000 veterans transition back into civilian life, and with over 500,000 open IT jobs annually, we want to encourage veterans to seek CS/STEM careers as a viable path. Microsoft established Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, (MSSA), a platinum standard IT career transition program to address the IT skills shortage, and is just one of the ways service members can ease the transition into civilian life, and one of the programs Microsoft offers to ensure a workforce that’s representative of all voices.”
The MSSA program launched in 2013 and has had over 600 graduates, many of whom have started careers with an average salary of $70,000. Interested military members and veterans do not need to have an IT background to qualify, but applicants will take an aptitude assessment before beginning the course. In addition to ERAU classroom work, Microsoft delivers coaching on professional development and building a personal brand. Active duty members within six months of their discharge date can apply with their command’s support.
Throughout the program, service members have access to resources like JobPlex, a staffing agency Microsoft has on retainer to assist participants with career placement support. Upon successful completion of the course, participants are guaranteed an interview for a full-time position with Microsoft.
Chris Cortez says “Veterans are trained to quickly assess, analyze and fix a situation with the resources at hand while working with a diverse group of people as a team, which maps directly to valuable skills needed for IT. Veterans are exactly the type of talent we are looking for to evolve the face of IT beyond the traditional four year degree, giving them not just a job, but a long-term career in the tech industry. We value veterans for the qualities they bring to the job: a strong work ethic, loyalty, punctuality, teamwork, problem solving under pressure, their sense of duty and clear sense of commitment to a mission. Companies look for these traits in the people they recruit, it’s about hiring great people. If you hire the right people, your company will thrive.”
Microsoft doesn’t offer every MSSA graduate work, but they have over 200 hiring partners that may make offers, including Accenture, Dell, Expedia, and the Department of Defense. If you’re interested in the program, you can find information, including program requirements, at Microsoft’s site: https://military.microsoft.com/training/mssa/.