With new Army base locations, MSSA continues to create opportunities

Since its inception, 319 service members have successfully completed the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy program.

Since its inception, 319 service members have successfully completed the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy program.

Cortez mugshot 2 croppedBy Chris Cortez, vice president of Military Affairs at Microsoft

In the more than two years since we started Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA), it has established itself as a successful program that has helped more than 260 former service members get hired for their post-military careers. In November, we announced several new MSSA locations across the country, and today I’m pleased to name the Army installations where MSSA will be rolled out in 2016 and 2017:

  • Fort Campbell, Kentucky – opening April 25, 2016
  • Fort Benning, Georgia – opening in 2016
  • Fort Bragg, North Carolina – opening in 2017
  • Fort Carson, Colorado – opening in 2017
  • Fort Bliss, Texas – opening in 2017

Our education partner, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, will provide the infrastructure to deliver Microsoft curriculum and coursework that trains service members on in-demand areas of IT, including cloud development, cloud administration, and database and business intelligence administration.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft Military Affairs has gotten off to a great start,” said Brad Sims, chancellor of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide. “We are looking forward to expanding the MSSA program to these Army bases so we can help even more service members train for their future careers.”

Since its inception, 319 service members have successfully completed the program. Ninety-two percent of MSSA participants graduate, and of those graduates, 82 percent are employed or have gone on to pursue more schooling. Ninety-six companies have hired MSSA grads, and the average starting salary for graduates is more than $70,000.

MSSA provides active duty U.S. service members with the career skills necessary to meet the IT industry’s high demand for talent. Upon successful completion of the program, participants gain an interview for a full-time job at Microsoft or one of its hiring partners.

In addition to naming the new Army bases where MSSA will roll out, today we’re celebrating another graduating class, this time from Camp Pendleton in California. These service members have spent the past several weeks intensely working toward their future careers, and I couldn’t be prouder of all they have accomplished.

MSSA helps service members transform their love for computers and technology into their next career.

MSSA helps service members transform their love for computers and technology into their next career.

“Familiarity and comfort with technology is crucial to function productively in the world we live in, and the MSSA program provided an opportunity to indulge my own curiosities in a way the Marine Corps alone is rarely able to provide,” says Lee Marine, a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and a member of today’s graduating class. “One of the most valuable parts of this experience was being able to interact with the MSSA mentors, who took the time to candidly answer a ridiculous variety of questions on topics ranging from Hadoop to healthcare. The simplest exchanges reinforced a more general skill: talking to regular people, not in some official capacity, but as a regular person yourself.”

The five new Army bases join installations at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Microsoft is on track to achieve its goal of hiring about a quarter of the service members it trains through MSSA and is collaborating closely with its hiring partners to open up opportunities for all who complete the program.

We are always looking for new hiring partners to take advantage of the skilled pool of MSSA graduates, so I urge more IT leaders to join us in our commitment to hire former service members as MSSA continues to grow.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated post-publication to correct the Fort Bragg and Fort Carson start dates to 2017. It was updated to change “train” to “get hired” in the first paragraph. Another sentence was changed to read: “The five new Army bases will join MSSA installations at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.” A subsequent bulleted list of installations was removed.

Keep in the know on the latest Microsoft Military Affairs news on the News & Announcements page.