November 11 is a special day to celebrate all those that keep America a Free place to live.  The company I work for really appreciates our military.   We did two things yesterday that didn’t make the main stream media that I want to point out here.

First we unveiled a Wall of Honor, a permanent digital salute to military veterans working at Microsoft. Second we Extended Elevate America Veterans Initiative with $12 Million in cash and software to help veterans to help them find jobs.

Below I repost the article from TechFest and the Press release:

MP900422243[1]

From http://techflash.com/seattle/2011/11/microsofts-salute-to-vets.html

CEO Steve Ballmer unveils Microsoft’s salute to military vets

by Anthony James and Greg Lamm on Thursday, November 10, 2011, 12:50pm PST

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (right) listens while retired Marine Corp Major General Chris Cortez, who is now Microsoft’s General Manager for Strategic Operations, explains the display of artifacts at the Veteran’s Wall they unveiled at Micrsoft’s Corporate headquarters in Redmond. (PSBJ/ Anthony Bolante)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was on hand Thursday to unveil the Wall of Honor, a permanent digital salute to military veteran working at Microsoft.

Ballmer was on hand to unveil the wall, which is a “living tribute” to Microsoft employees who have served in the military. The display case contains mementos from veterans, such as military coins, awards given to Microsoft and a duffel bag covered in patches of different military units.

“Our goal is to honor the contribution of Microsoft employees that served or continue to serve,” Ballmer said in front of the wall, which has a screen with the names and photos of veterans now at Microsoft.

“Veterans make some of the best employees, but there’s a transition from military communication to business communication,” Ballmer said.

To help solve that problem, Microsoft is investing millions of dollars in post-military education for vets. In August, Microsoft announced it was backing a jobs for American vets effort with $2 million in cash and up to $6 million in software and training to help U.S. military veterans get IT training.

Microsoft is expanding its Elevate America Veterans initiative by partnering with the U.S. Department of Labor to distribute 10,000 technology training and certification packages to veterans. At today's event, Ballmer said this commitment totals $12 million worth of cash, products and other services. Bellevue College's Project Succeed will be one of six beneficiaries of the program.

Microsoft employee Robert Scott Stanton, a Washington Army National Guardsman who was deployed twice to Iraq, takes a look at the Veteran’s Wall display at Microsoft (PSBJ/Anthony Bolante)

Microsoft also recruits veterans through the company’s Military 2 Microsoft program, which helps veterans and those serving in the National Guard and Reserve to find job opportunities at Microsoft.

Microsoft timed its announcement to coincide with President Obama’s recent announcement of new measures to help returning vets tackle a high unemployment rate, which is currently at 12.1 percent. At the White House today, First Lady Michelle Obama praised Microsoft's efforts, as well as those of Bellevue-based Guidant Financial.

Other tech companies are recognizing the talent that veterans bring to the table. In August, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray praised Amazon.com’s efforts to hire veterans. Amazon has hundreds of veterans currently working for the company, with many working in the customer service and fulfillment centers.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company doesn’t know exactly how many veterans work there, but more than 500 have identified themselves as a veteran on personnel files.

“Veterans provide leadership, experience, maturity and passion, and Microsoft recognizes that,” said Maj. Gen. Chris Cortez, a retired Marine and Microsoft’s current general manager for strategic operations.

 

And our Press Release about supporting Elevate America

 

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 9, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of new resources for veterans as part of its Elevate America veterans initiative to help veterans and their spouses get the technology skills and certifications they need to be successful in today’s civilian workforce.

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).

Working with the U.S. Department of Labor in a liaison role, Microsoft 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. 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, including the following:

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.)

Each area will receive 1,000 vouchers per year for two years, totaling 10,000 vouchers. 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. Veterans can find more information about resources available from Microsoft, including specific locations where the vouchers will be distributed, at http://www.microsoft.com/veterans.

“Veterans have served our country bravely, have superb military training, and have developed valuable leadership, management and diplomatic skills,” said Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president, Microsoft. “We hope that by providing additional access to training and other employment resources, we will help close the opportunity divide for more of our servicemen and women, as well as their spouses, who have also made great sacrifices.”

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. 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.

“In today’s competitive high-tech economy, specialized training is often a prerequisite for employment,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, U.S. Department of Labor. “But if you can provide technical support for our war fighters in the Middle East, you can support business IT systems when you come home. Today’s announcement is an important step to ensure that our returning heroes have access to the training and certifications they need to land good jobs.”

“Transitioning from the service to civilian life is really hard, especially in this job climate,” said Corey Lewis, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and participant in the Microsoft Elevate America veterans initiative. “The resources provided by the Elevate America veterans initiative give veterans the boost they need to have a successful career when they return home.”

Microsoft is also giving veterans and military service members a 10 percent discount off selected items in Microsoft Stores across the country.*

More information on Elevate America, including resources available for veterans, is available at http://www.microsoft.com/veterans.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

*Available for active or retired military personnel with a valid government-issued ID. Only applies to eligible products and while supplies last. Discount applies before taxes, shipping and other fees. Not valid on previous orders. Offer cannot be transferred, redeemed for cash, or combined with any other offer or promotion. Available in-store only and not online. Limit one per person. Not valid for resellers. Expires Dec. 31, 2012.