In 2013, Microsoft began a U.S. military training program called Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) to train U.S. military veterans for technology careers. MSSA began as a pilot program, starting at Saint Martin’s University at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
The 16-week course aimed to get U.S. armed forces members the certifications needed for technology careers like developer, applications engineer, and IT project manager. In 2014, Microsoft expanded MSSA to include not only U.S. military veterans, but also active duty armed forces members. In November 2015, Microsoft announced more MSSA locations across the U.S.
In a post on its Military Affairs blog, Microsoft announced that MSSA would be expanding even further in the next few years to include even more U.S. Army base locations. Starting this year and heading into 2017, MSSA will set up shop in the following locations:
- Fort Campbell, Kentucky – opening April 25, 2016
- Fort Benning, Georgia – opening in 2016
- Fort Bragg, North Carolina – opening in 2016
- Fort Carson, Colorado – opening in 2016
- Fort Bliss, Texas – opening in 2017
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will help Microsoft develop IT curriculum and coursework for armed service members in areas like cloud development, cloud administration, and database and business intelligence administration. One recent graduate of the MSSA program, Lee Marine (not kidding), a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps (natch), had this to say about his Microsoft training:
“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. 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.”
Microsoft hires around 25% of MSSA graduates and there are also other opportunities for careers through one of Microsoft's hiring partners. If you are in the U.S. military and would like to know more about the MSSA program, check out Microsoft's Military Affairs website for more information.