Microsoft working with the U.S. Department of Labor in a liaison role, is distributing vouchers that will enable veterans to obtain, at no cost, select e-learning and certification for Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, leading to a Microsoft Office Specialist certification or select technical professional level e-learning and certification.
The announcement is a part of Microsoft's Elevate America veterans initiative.
"Vouchers will be available in the five communities in the United States with the highest number of returning post-9/11-era veterans and distributed in partnership with local workforce areas," reveals Microsoft.
Each area will receive 1,000 vouchers per year for two years, totaling 10,000 vouchers:
- Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (Wash.)
- San Diego Workforce Partnership (Calif.)
- Houston-Galveston Area Council (Texas)
- Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board (Va.)
- First Coast Workforce Development/WorkSource Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.)
"The new voucher program complements other resources Microsoft is currently providing to veterans and their spouses through cash and software investments provided to nonprofit partners located in San Diego; Bellevue, Wash.; Charlotte, N.C.; New York; Panama City, Fla.; and Worcester, Mass," the software company said.
"With the new voucher program, Microsoft's investment in supporting veterans through the Elevate America veterans initiative now totals $12 million in cash, products and other services," added Microsft.
In addition, Microsoft is providing in-person support to ensure veterans and their spouses are successful in their training and certification, and the local workforce areas will help connect the veterans and their spouses to potential employers in their area.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October's unemployment report showed that although the overall unemployment rate last month improved slightly, the unemployment rate rose to 12.1 percent among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans (compared with 8.4 percent for nonveterans).