Returning U.S. veterans face major challenges finding civilian employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics October unemployment report showed that the unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans was 12.1 percent compared with 8.4 percent for nonveterans. A year ago we announced a program aimed at addressing that issue, the Elevate America Veterans initiative. It’s a program focused on working with nonprofit organizations to provide veterans and their spouses with the training and support services they need to transition from the military to civilian employment.
Today we are expanding that commitment. Working with the U.S. Department of Labor in a liaison role, we are announcing the availability of new training voucher ”packages” that will enable veterans to obtain, at no cost, selected e-learning, test preparation and certification for Windows 7 and Office 2010 or selected IT Professional e-learning, test preparation and certification. These vouchers will be available in the five communities in the United States with the highest number of post 9/11 era veterans and distributed in partnership with local Workforce Areas, including:
· Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WA)
· San Diego Workforce Partnership (CA)
· Houston-Galveston Area Council (TX)
· Northern Virginia Workforce Board (VA)
· First Coast Workforce Development/Worksource Florida (Jacksonville, FL)
Each of these areas will receive 1,000 voucher packages per year for two years, totaling 10,000 packages. We will also be providing support for in-person tutorial assistance for veterans to ensure they are successful in their training and certification. Each of the local Workforce Areas will help connect the veterans and their spouses to potential employers in their area.
Veterans can find more information about resources available from Microsoft, including specific locations where the vouchers will be distributed at the Elevate America veterans initiative website.
This new voucher program is an expansion to our existing Elevate America veterans initiative, and our work with six nonprofit organizations who are providing veterans with technology skills, job training and placement programs to help give veterans and their spouses the skills and resources they need to be successful in today’s civilian work force. The nonprofits providing these services in their local communities include:
· Able-Disabled Advocacy, Inc., San Diego, CA; San Diego VetWORKS
· Bellevue College, Bellevue, WA; Project Succeed
· Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont Inc, Charlotte, NC; Elevate America’s veterans initiative
· Gulf Coast Workforce Board, Panama City, FL; Mission: 21st Century (M:21c)
· Per Scholas INC., New York, NY; Microsoft Veterans Employment Project
· Veterans Inc., Worcester, MA; Veterans Inc. Employment & Training Program
Through this work we continue to learn best practices in how we can scale support for the thousands of veterans and their spouses who can benefit from this type of support.The new voucher program increases our investment in the Elevate America Veterans initiative to over $12 million in cash, product, training and certification resources and other services.
· Asking for help is strength, not weakness – Wounded Warriors Project
· Calling all Businesses—Hire More Veterans with Disabilities – Paralyzed Veterans of America
· Responding to the Emerging Needs of Veterans – Veterans Inc.
· Veterans Build Success at Bellevue College – Bellevue College
· The Private Sector Steps up for Vets – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
· Benefits of Hiring a Veteran – Gulf Coast Workforce Board
· Serving our country’s heroes – Goodwill Industries
· More than meets the eye – American Legion
· A tribute to success – Able-Disabled Advocacy
· Our Duty – USO