IAVA Joins with Microsoft on Bold Jobs Initiative
Posted by Michael Houston on March 8
Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest non-partisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, joined Microsoft Corp. in support of the "Elevate America's Veterans" Initiative. The initiative will provide veterans and their spouses with the technical training and resources needed to be successful in today's workforce. It builds on Microsoft's broader "Elevate America" program to provide technology training and certification to help prepare people for the 21st-century workforce. IAVA will serve on a coalition of public, private and nonprofit organizations in an advisory role over the next 2 years.
"In the coming years, a significant number of veterans will seek civilian employment opportunities. Microsoft's new initiative provides veterans with the tools to successfully transition to new careers and contribute to economic growth in an especially tough economy. Microsoft has been the leader in the technology revolution and we appreciate their strength and commitment to our returning heroes. Microsoft is sending a message to veterans nationwide that they have our back. IAVA is excited to be a part of this coalition and we look forward to working with Microsoft to make a historic impact," said IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff.
"Microsoft has made a long-term commitment to skills training and workforce development and 'Elevate America's Veterans' initiative aims to extend those skills to servicemen and women helping them to transition into civilian employment," commented Pamela Passman, corporate vice president of Microsoft Global Corporate Affairs. "We know that strong partnerships are central to the success of this program and we are delighted that IAVA, who supports our veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, has become the first organization to join the initiative."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 185,000 unemployed Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans leave the active-duty military only to find that their skills are not understood by civilian employers. This has contributed to an unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans which is nearly 20 percent higher than the overall unemployment rate for nonveterans. Employment challenges are especially prevalent among National Guardsmen and Reservists, who typically serve in the military part-time, but are seeing their civilian lives disrupted by multiple combat tours. Many reservists returning from combat are not being promptly reemployed, or are not receiving the pay, pensions, health care coverage, and other benefits to which they are entitled. See IAVA's full report on the employment and education challenges facing new veterans here.
Through the "Elevate America's Veterans" Initiative, Microsoft will contribute $2 million in cash and up to $6 million in software over the next two years to support programs for veterans and their spouses who are separating from the military and transitioning to the civilian workforce. Through a competitive funding process, Microsoft will award cash, software and other resources to eligible organizations, which may include veterans service organizations, workforce agencies, community colleges and other nonprofit organizations. The funding will support 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.
To learn more about the initiative visit: www.microsoft.com/elevateamerica.
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