Microsoft has begun an initiative aimed at helping returning vets get the training and technology skills they need to find jobs and settle back into society.
To kick the initiative off, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) said Monday that it is donating $2 million in cash and as much as another $6 million in software to the project over the next two years.
“Through a competitive funding process, Microsoft will award cash, software and other resources to eligible organizations, including veterans’ service organizations, work force agencies, community colleges and other nonprofit organizations,” the company said.
The initiative aims to establish a coalition of public, non-profit, and private organizations with the goal of helping veterans and their spouses gain the skills and certifications needed for jobs in a 21st century work force.
First to sign on to the coalition is the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
“Microsoft’s new initiative provides veterans with the tools to successfully transition to new careers and contribute to economic growth in an especially tough economy,” Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of IAVA, said in a statement.
The initiative builds off of Microsoft’s Elevate America program, which it announced just over a year ago.
Elevate America is a three-year initiative that Microsoft said is focused on providing as many as two million people with the technology training needed to succeed in the 21st-century economy.
Pamela Passman, corporate vice president of Microsoft Global Corporate Affairs, unveiled the new program for vets at Monday’s National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) Forum in Washington, D.C.
As the U.S. begins to wind down its involvement in Iraq, bringing thousands of troops home, Microsoft said its goal is to ease the impact on national guard and reserves personnel being released from the military.
“The company is sending a message to veterans nationwide that it has their back. IAVA is excited to be a part of this coalition, and we look forward to working with Microsoft to make a historic impact,” Rieckhoff added.
Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at “>Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.