Home Artificial Intelligence 10 years of influence—Vice President of Army Affairs displays on MSSA’s 10-year milestone

10 years of influence—Vice President of Army Affairs displays on MSSA’s 10-year milestone

10 years of influence—Vice President of Army Affairs displays on MSSA’s 10-year milestone


From Chris Cortez, Vice President of Army Affairs

10 years in the past we created the Microsoft Software program and Methods Academy (MSSA) program to attach the dots between the scarcity of technical expertise and the abundance of under-employed army expertise.  

I and a core group of Veterans working at Microsoft acknowledged the immense influence our army expertise imparted in our method to technical gross sales, engineering, and enablement. We understood that each skilled begins from primary abilities and builds from there, and we knew from our personal army careers the work ethic and insurmountable grit that army professionals possess.

We got down to design elementary coaching that might get a service member’s boot within the door to an entry-level profession in IT—a subject involved about discovering sufficient IT professionals to fill demand. With help from Frank Shaw, Company Vice President for Communications at Microsoft, we pitched our answer to Microsoft’s expertise scarcity to Microsoft management.

Months later, and after exploring feasibility with the Division of Protection and garrison commanders at army installations, Microsoft launched MSSA’s first cohorts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  After course completion, we celebrated this milestone second alongside Microsoft President Brad Smith and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (WA). Based mostly on the enthusiastic reception from veterans and the Division of Protection’s SkillBridge Program, we expanded to school rooms supporting army members at bases and installations in California, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Georgia. By 2019 MSSA established school rooms on 12 army bases spanning 7 states, together with Schofield Barracks on Oahu.

However it hasn’t all been easy crusing.

We’ve tailored to many curveballs over the last decade, remodeling to remain true to our mission. Simply once we appeared to get it proper and grasp the method, COVID occurred.

Transformative modifications in IT demanded revamping of our technical curriculum, which we develop and evolve to fulfill hiring calls for. We’ve often refreshed and created studying paths that replicate hiring developments and enterprise wants, and guarantee they equip MSSA individuals with the best data and abilities to carry out a profitable job search.

When a world pandemic made in-person educating unattainable, we pivoted our school rooms from in-person instruction delivered by educational establishments to dwell digital school rooms led by subject material specialists from Microsoft licensed studying companions. This flexibility enabled us to stay open as a SkillBridge program all through the coronavirus emergency.

As international markets rebalance within the wake of a tepid recession, we targeted on creating a complete skilled growth curriculum—together with job search techniques, interview abilities, {and professional} goal-setting—enabling veterans to be extra aggressive and empowered of their job search.

On the similar time, Microsoft and the MSSA Hiring Companion community proceed to recruit MSSA expertise to begin their tech careers with them.

MSSA graduates information our program with their resilience and proceed to exceed our expectations within the influence they’ve had in tons of of corporations and merchandise within the IT area.

After 10 years of influence within the army and IT communities, the outcomes are in.

After 10 years, 3,603 army veterans and transitioning service members have efficiently accomplished our grueling 17-week coaching. We’ve got labored with active-duty members and reservists from all branches of the armed forces and army veterans from all 50 states.

A whole bunch of Microsoft staff had been employed instantly from MSSA, with numerous extra rejoining the corporate later of their careers. We’ve recognized >1,000 corporations we’ve labored with to position veteran expertise of their group, and practically 200 kinds of IT jobs.

We’ve labored with graduates like Phuong Baguyos—an Military veteran who, after 10 years out of the workforce whereas elevating her household, adopted her husband’s footsteps and joined one among MSSA’s cybersecurity cohorts in 2018. With encouragement from her cohort and Microsoft mentors, Phuong fought for a aggressive position as a help engineer and has been thriving in that group for practically six years. Phuong and her husband—an Military veteran and 2016 MSSA graduate who immediately works as a buyer engineer—have earned a minimum of one promotion apiece over their tenures and look ahead to their 6- and 7- yr anniversaries with the corporate in 2024.  

We additionally labored with 2017 graduate Dave Porter, a veteran of the Military’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment, who leveraged his time at MSSA discerning his pursuits as a technologist within the protection area. Dave landed a job at Microsoft as an account government on Microsoft’s U.S. Military account group, the place he helped safe HoloLens enterprise with the Military, travelling to Afghanistan a number of occasions to develop the expertise and enhance its utility and wearability for the troopers who’d use them. He’s now a senior director supporting the U.S. Air Power and Area Power.

These are solely a handful of the hundreds of proficient professionals who obtained their begin in IT, partly, by means of MSSA. Learn extra concerning the influence MSSA graduates are having in IT in our collection ‘10 heroes for 10 years’, the place we profile an MSSA graduate from annually of our program.

The MSSA neighborhood has enduring impacts in IT, past the expertise they construct and affect.

Right here at Microsoft, MSSA individuals and alumni led the best way to boost our Veteran-ready practices:

Since 2017, 687 Microsoft staff have volunteered to mentor MSSA individuals—monitoring practically 40,000 mentor hours. Mentor hours helped fund the development of a brand new house for the Gary Sinise Basis RISE recipient Ian Prescott, a 2022 MSSA graduate. A overwhelming majority of MSSA mentors proceed to volunteer for added cohorts, and some even think about it a spotlight of their job.

MSSA alumni helped to originate the Army@Microsoft Worker Useful resource Group and advocate for firm sponsorship for community-building occasions and programming—making Microsoft a extra Veteran-ready place to work.

Our alumni efficiently advocated for Microsoft to incorporate army neighborhood illustration in self-reporting initiatives that help army inclusion in our annual Range & Inclusion report. Advocating for army neighborhood illustration as a demographic helps Microsoft to know its neighborhood make-up and lead the business in advantages like job safety throughout prolonged army deployments for army reservists.

Our graduates additionally served as a proof level in our advocacy for Microsoft to think about equal expertise as equal to training necessities in job adverts and recruiter screenings, eradicating obstacles for veterans getting into the workforce.

And within the IT area at giant:

MSSA’s revolutionary curriculum and hiring fashions have been acknowledged as a ‘greatest apply’ within the veteran skilling sphere, extending past the Microsoft and MSSA Hiring Companion neighborhood to have a constructive influence on veterans’ profession transitions. We work carefully with Microsoft’s Worldwide Studying group to outline and provide to MSSA individuals particular studying paths, courseware, and credentialing alternatives targeted on IT roles which might be in demand throughout a various set of industries.  Our coaching and hiring mannequin have additionally been leveraged by town of Los Angeles, which launched a first-in-the-nation Los Angeles Veteran Expertise and Coaching Academy in 2021—adopted by town of Chicago and Prepare dinner County, Illinois with Chicago Prepare dinner Expertise Academy in 2022. 

We’ve additionally cultivated a Hiring Companion community of over 1,000 particular person corporations that interview and rent MSSA individuals instantly from their cohorts—a community that channels MSSA expertise to Microsoft companions and buyer organizations.

We’re not solely profitable—we’re infusing our success all through the IT business.

Once we set out on this journey in 2013, we made a guess that army expertise was greater than geared up to ability up and fill the IT abilities hole then rattling the IT business.  What we didn’t foresee is the dedicated and impressed community of advocates for army expertise we’ve developed on this decade.

We’re grateful to the over 1,000 Microsoft companions that infuse army expertise all through our business by bringing MSSA graduates onto their group to begin their civilian careers. Firms like Southwest Airways, a Microsoft accomplice who developed their Warrior Rent program to onboard MSSA graduates to their engineering programs, proceed to put money into veteran expertise alongside Microsoft.

Trying ahead

Roughly 200,000 service members depart the U.S. army annually. Every of them embarks on a profound private and profession transformation crammed with thrilling changes, selections, and alternative.

As we glance again on a decade of the Microsoft Software program and Methods Academy, we’re honored—and so proud—to have served every of the three,604 army veterans we’ve been capable of work with as they embark on the following part of their profession journey. We’re thrilled to deepen ties with our 3.6k-strong community of MSSA Alumni by means of the MSSA Alumni Community. We’re enthusiastic to proceed to fulfill the problem and duty of working with this unbelievable inhabitants to realize significant careers in IT—and open the doorways to new cohorts of veterans when our subsequent cohorts start in January.



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