Microsoft Software & Systems Academy meets milestone with opening at Camp Lejeune

In a milestone achievement for how our nation’s heroes are being empowered with opportunities for meaningful careers in the technology industry, Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) is celebrating the completion of its initial coast-to-coast expansion goal.

Since its launch in 2013, MSSA has provided transitioning service members and veterans with the skills and tools necessary to successfully transition into careers in technology. Today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune will complete Microsoft’s Phase One commitment to open 14 MSSA locations in nine regions, with the capacity to graduate 1,000 students per year.

“When I left active duty, there were few opportunities for my fellow Marines to transition from the military into professional careers,” said Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of communications at Microsoft, who oversaw the program’s launch. “Microsoft Software & Systems Academy is such a proud moment for me personally. We’re demonstrating how focused, hands-on training for military personnel leads to a positive impact for their families—and the technology industry.”

Camp Lejeune is the latest MSSA location to open this year, after courses launched at Quantico in January and within the Hampton Roads military community in February. MSSA now serves locations coast to coast, and its graduates have secured careers at Microsoft or one of more than 280 companies nationwide—with average starting salaries at or above $70,000. The MSSA program’s network of hiring partners includes industry leaders like Dell Inc., Oracle, Accenture, and the U.S. Department of Defense. And at Microsoft, more than 90 percent of MSSA graduates are staying in their jobs after two years and beyond compared to most veterans who stay in their first job less than two years.

People cutting ribbon
Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of communications at Microsoft; Mary McCready, U.S. Marine Corps Reservist and Premier Field Engineer at Microsoft; Dr. John Watret, chancellor for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide; and Jim Steadman, education branch manager for Marine & Family Programs at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune cut the ceremonious ribbon.

From teamwork and resilience to leadership skills and adaptability, the similarities between the demands placed on military personnel and technology and IT workers can make the transition a natural fit. Indeed, graduates like Mary McCready, a U.S. Marine Corps Reservist who now works as a Premier Field Engineer at Microsoft, credits the overlap between the 18-week MSSA course and their military training as invaluable.

“Aside from the military, there’s nothing else that prepares you for a career in tech the way MSSA can prepare you,” McCready said. “It’s the best transition program out there.”

By working with education partners like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), whose instructors will work with MSSA students in the Camp Lejeune Education Center, MSSA at Camp Lejeune will leverage the program’s proven model for reskilling transitioning service members into civilian careers—and helping them thrive in life after the uniform.

As MSSA expands, Microsoft is increasing opportunity for the men and women who have served our country to learn the critical skills they need to transition into high-demand careers in technology and IT—roles in cloud application development, server and cloud administration, cybersecurity administration, or database and business intelligence administration, for instance. And as the program brings sought-after training to a largely untapped segment of the nation’s workforce, MSSA is ultimately helping to strengthen the country’s ability to compete in a modern, high-stakes race for talent and innovation while addressing the demand for those skills in our modern tech workforce.

For more stories about MSSA’s impact, read Frank Shaw’s article on LinkedIn and visit the Military Affairs blog.