Building on its Elevate America program to provide technology training to help prepare people for 21st-century jobs, Microsoft said it will contribute $2 million in cash and up to $6 million in software over the next two years to support programs for members of the armed services and their spouses who are separating from the military and reintegrating into their civilian communities and the work force. Through a competitive funding process, Microsoft will award cash, software, and other resources to eligible organizations, including veterans service organizations, work force agencies, community colleges, and other nonprofit organizations.
The initiative will provide technology skills training, job placement, career counseling, and other support services such as childcare, transportation, and housing. The initiative is intended to support active duty service members who are transitioning out of the military as well as members of the National Guard and Reserves who are returning to their civilian jobs, according to the announcement.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the first organization to join the coalition and will work with Microsoft over the next two years on this initiative.
The announcement said U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates there are nearly 185,000 unemployed Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans is 20% higher than the overall unemployment rate for nonveterans.
Organizations and veterans can find more information on this initiative by visiting http://www.microsoft.com/elevateamerica, and can get updates by following Elevate America on Twitter at http://twitter.com/elevateamerica.