has announced that it will contribute $2 million in cash and up to $6 million in software over the next two years to support programs that help prepare veterans and their spouses for twenty-first century jobs.
Building on its initiative, Microsoft will award cash, software, and other resources to eligible organizations working to provide technology skills training, job placement, career counseling, and other support services to active-duty service members as well as members of the National Guard and Reserves who are transitioning out of the military and into the civilian workforce. is the first organization to join the coalition and will work with Microsoft over the next two years on the initiative.
According to the , nearly 185,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are unemployed. While veterans often possess abundant leadership skills, many lack the formal education, training, and/or certifications needed to join the civilian work force. More than half of today's jobs require at least some technology skills, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the figure will reach 77 percent within a decade.
"Our servicemen and women are amazing leaders, but to be able to compete in the tough job market when they return from duty, many of them need access to technology training," said Pamela Passman, corporate vice president of Microsoft Global Corporate Affairs. "We are bringing together organizations and companies that can combine their competencies and resources with ours to make the greatest possible impact to help veterans and their spouses."