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Michelle Obama honors Microsoft’s Ryen Macababbad at White House

Ryen Macababbad, program manager for Azure Active Directory at Microsoft, was among the former military service members welcomed at the White House on Thursday for an event marking the fifth anniversary of the Joining Forces Initiative. The initiative works hand in hand with the public and private sectors to ensure that service members, veterans and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives. Microsoft has supported Joining Forces since its founding and was among the companies honored on Thursday for its efforts to hire and provide career training for military service members.

Macababbad is one of the most recent examples of Microsoft’s commitment. As a specialist in the Army, Macababbad enrolled in Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord when she decided to leave the military after eight years of service and two overseas deployments. MSSA helped her rekindle the “computer nerd” she’d been growing up and find a new path for her life. After graduating from the program, she joined Microsoft, where she works with Azure and cloud services — as she says, “the next new thing, the thing that is going to touch everything.” At the Joining Forces event, first lady Michelle Obama spent a few moments praising Macababbad’s passion for technology and eagerness to keep learning.

Since Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces in 2011, more than 1.2 million veterans and military spouses have been hired or trained. At Thursday’s event, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden announced that 40 companies, including Microsoft, have pledged to hire a total of more than 110,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.