Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
The US elections are just over and the major concern and worry we all share is the economy and the future of our jobs. With the overall unemployment numbers still very high this anxiety is real. Often when I speak with colleagues about training programs they roll their eyes and ask me why start another training program when there are no jobs available.
If we follow their logic there is nothing we can do. However, as I travel the country and meet people from all walks of life, I hear a different story. People still want new skills that will increase their opportunities for a job. A little while ago Linda Arellano tweeted after we launched our Elevate America program thanking us for this support. She has been unemployed for over two years and believes that training will help her.
While the overall unemployment rate for the U.S. remains steady at 9.6 percent, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars return home to face an unemployment rate 20 percent greater than that of civilians. This got us thinking and just under a year ago Microsoft gathered a group of experts together to start a series of discussions about the issues and challenges facing our nation’s veterans, particularly concerning the transition to civilian employment. We wanted to understand how we could extend our Elevate America program to support them. We saw that in under two years after the introduction of the Elevate America program over 900,000 people signed up for training. We felt that for our veterans we need to have a different program and that there was a lot to learn. We were right on both counts.
Last month, we reconvened this original group, plus six additional organizations at our headquarters in Redmond, Washington, to talk about how we could put what we’ve learned into action. It was both heartwarming to hear how these organizations are facing up to the challenge to support our returning veterans but also concerning when you hear the breadth of challenges they face. The discussion centered on what we could collectively do to support them in a manner whereby the benefits are tangible and real. The result is the Elevate America veterans initiative.
The Elevate America veterans initiative builds on our Elevate America program to address our veterans - a community typically underserved with the support they need to make the leap from the military to civilian workforce. More than half of today’s jobs require some technology skills, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that will reach 77 percent in the next decade.
We have been fortunate to work with an advisory group - the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), The American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Service Organizations (USO), and the Wounded Warrior Project – who were able to bring the benefit of their direct experience with veterans across the country into our planning around this program. The veterans initiative goes beyond our existing Elevate America programs because it couples technology skills training with ancillary services such as career counseling, job placement, childcare, transportation, and housing services.
Today, we are proud to announce result of this work. There are six nonprofit recipients of our Elevate America veterans initiative grants who will provide new education, job training and placement programs to help give veterans and their spouses the skills and resources they need to be successful in today’s civilian work force. Through these grants, Microsoft is providing $2 million in cash and up to $6 million in software and information technology (IT) skills training curriculum to the following organizations:
Each of these organizations and their partners represent a unique program and service model, serving veterans and spouses across the country. Together, we hope that we can learn best practices, share models that work well and ultimately help scale these efforts broadly to meet the needs of the thousands of veterans and spouses who could benefit from this type of support.
As we approach Veterans Day we hope that our work with these organizations goes a small way towards recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of our veterans. They deserve all the support we can provide.
More veterans resources:
To celebrate the launch of our Elevate America Veterans initiative, which helps veterans to transition from military to civilian employment, we are launching a sweepstakes for veterans to win one of twelve Xbox 360 4GB consoles with Kinect.
The competition will run from November 8th through November 23rd 2010 and the winners will be announced the second week in December.
Kinect brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways without using a controller. Imagine controlling movies and music with the wave of a hand or the sound of your voice. With Kinect, technology evaporates, letting the natural magic in all of us shine. You can find out more about Kinect here.
This competition is part of a weeklong celebration of U.S. military veterans. You can find more veterans news and resources on the Microsoft Citizenship website.
Entering the sweepstakes is straightforward.
It is only open to U.S. military veterans, and to enter you will need a Twitter account. Please review the official rules below before entering.
Honor US veterans with a chance to win an Xbox 360 and Kinect. View official rules here: http://bit.ly/dArv8n @msftcitizenship
Click Here to Tweet
Not a U.S. military veteran?
If you are not a U.S. veteran please help spread the word to your followers who are U.S. military veterans by Tweeting* the following:
Help @msftcitizenship elevate america's #Veterans with a chance to win an Xbox 360 4GB Console with #Kinect: http://bit.ly/dArv8n
*Please note this tweet does not enter you into the sweepstakes, you must be a U.S. Military Veteran to enter
Each of the twelve winners will receive:
OFFICIAL RULES - “ELEVATE AMERICA'S VETERANS” SWEEPSTAKES
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
COMMON TERMS USED IN THESE RULES:
These are the official rules that govern how the Elevate America's veterans initiative sweepstakes promotion will operate. This promotion will be simply referred to as the “Sweepstakes” throughout the rest of these rules.
In these rules, “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Microsoft Corporation, the sponsor of the Sweepstakes. “You” refers to an eligible Sweepstakes entrant.
WHAT ARE THE START AND END DATES?
This Sweepstakes starts at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on November 8, 2010, and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on November 23, 2010 (“Entry Period”). Entries must be received within the Entry Period to be eligible.
CAN I ENTER?
You are eligible to enter this Sweepstakes if you meet the following requirements at time of entry:
This Sweepstakes is void outside of the geographic area described above and wherever else prohibited by law.
HOW DO I ENTER?
To enter, you must be a registered account holder in good standing on Twitter.com and must “follow” @msftcitizenship. Enter by signing in to the your Twitter account; if you do not have an account, visit www.twitter.com to create one. Twitter accounts are free. Once logged into your Twitter account, follow the instructions to become a follower of @msftcitizenship. Then you will receive one entry when you tweet "Honor US veterans with a chance to win an Xbox 360 and Kinect. View official rules here: http://bit.ly/dArv8n @msftcitizenship” from your Twitter account during the Entry Period.
You must be a current follower up until December 10, 2010 to be contacted if you win.
We will only accept one (1) entry per person. You may not create multiple Twitter accounts to fraudulently enter in excess of entry limits.
We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.
We will automatically disqualify:
WINNER SELECTION AND PRIZES
On or around December 12, 2010, we or our agent will randomly select twelve (12) winners to receive a Grand Prize:
(12) Grand Prize. An Xbox 360 with Kinect sensor. Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $299.00 ea
The total Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of all prizes: $3,588
We will only award one (1) prize per person during the Entry Period.
If you are a potential winner, we will notify you by sending a message to the e-mail address, the phone number, or mailing address (if any) provided at time of entry within seven (7) days following the random drawing. If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award the prize to an alternate, randomly selected winner.
If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Sweepstakes . If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and a W-9 tax form or W-8 BEN tax form within 10 days of notification. If you are a potential winner and you are 18 or older, but are considered a minor in your place of legal residence, we may require your parent or legal guardian to sign all required forms on your behalf. If you do not complete the required forms as instructed and/or return the required forms within the time period listed on the winner notification message, we may disqualify you and select an alternate, randomly selected winner.
If you are confirmed as a winner of this Sweepstakes:
WHAT ARE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING?
Your odds of winning this Sweepstakes depend on the number of eligible entries we receive.
WHAT OTHER CONDITIONS ARE YOU AGREEING TO BY ENTERING THIS SWEEPSTAKES?
By entering this Sweepstakes you agree:
WHAT LAWS GOVERN THE WAY THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS EXECUTED AND ADMINISTRATED?
This Sweepstakes will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Washington for any disputes arising out of this Sweepstakes.
WHAT IF SOMETHING UNEXPECTED HAPPENS AND THE SWEEPSTAKES CAN’T RUN AS PLANNED?
If cheating, a virus, bug, catastrophic event, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure) affects the fairness and / or integrity of this Sweepstakes, we reserve the right to cancel, change or suspend this Sweepstakes. This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error. If a solution cannot be found to restore the integrity of the Sweepstakes, we reserve the right to randomly select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Sweepstakes.
If you attempt to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes by hacking or by cheating or committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law. Further, we may ban you from participating in any of our future Sweepstakes, so please play fairly.
HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT WHO WON?
If you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 days of November 23, 2010, we will provide you with a list of winners that receive a prize worth $25.00 or more.
WHO IS SPONSORING THIS SWEEPSTAKES?
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Note: This post is part of a weeklong celebration of U.S. military veterans. You can find more stories and resources at the Microsoft Citizenship website.
Going from sitting behind a .50 caliber gun in the dark, fighting Arabian Sea pirates to sitting at a desk in a classroom is quite a transition. Spencer Cockrell served in the Navy for six years, working as a SONAR operator, technician, and supervisor. On January 3, 2011 he will begin the next stage of his career pathway studying computer science at Bellevue College. “One of the very exciting things about transitioning to college is that you get to be your own person again. You control your own time, and you have the ability to explore and study ideas that are important to you. For me, this is part of the pursuit of happiness that we are all entitled to—it's something that every veteran has fought for.” Spencer talked with us about the new vet services that will be launched in the college’s Microsoft Elevate America Initiative, called Project Succeed. All the parts of the project sounded exciting to him, but especially the internship and job placement help. He noted that it’s been years since he’s had to develop a resume, so the more help on this – the better!
Julius Clemente, a student who is currently attending the college, served in the Navy for two terms, from 1998 to 2005. “I was a hospital corpsman pretty much the whole time. I was deployed to Iraq on two different occasions, and also spent a lot of time in Japan. Right now I’m taking classes to fulfill pre-requisites to get into a four-year physicians assistant program. Maybe at the U.W. Or in California. The UW also has a MEDEX program up at the University of Alaska Anchorage, so I’m looking at that too. But physician assistant programs are a good fit for me. Actually, the physicians’ assistant training programs were designed especially for returning hospital corpsmen back in the 1960s.”
He is particularly excited about the expanded technology training and internship opportunities that will be available through Project Succeed, especially since they expose students to 21st century skill requirements and often lead to permanent employment. “Internships are key. BCAV (Bellevue College Association of Veterans for which Julius is chapter president) has folks from all over the services in lots of different occupations. Some of those occupations have skills that transfer more easily to the civilian world, and some—well, it’s a tougher fit. But internships could help in a lot of different fields.”
One of the most active veterans on campus is Pete Smith (pictured below), who founded the Bellevue College Association of Veterans last year, and advocates for veterans across the region. Project Succeed will play a role in helping the chapter in their primary goal of establishing a strongly supportive community of veteran students and providing wrap-around services for who are transitioning from active duty. Pete noted, “It means a lot that Microsoft is supporting this veterans’ project, because it shows that they are looking to give back to those who have given so much for their country. This project can provide veterans with an environment at Bellevue College that expands critical mentoring, internship and job opportunities that we need to be productive in the workplace.”
Find out more about Bellevue College.
By: Kim Bodine, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Workforce Board
I’ve been working with employers in our area for more than 15 years and time and time again I hear businesses refer to those who have served in military as America’s best and brightest. I found that out first hand when I hired Joe Chavarria, a 20 year Air Force Vet.
The first day on the job, Joe Chavarria showed up fifteen minutes early. He later told me that “in the military if you’re right on time you are considered late.” Not only did Joe make a great impression on that first day but he became a valuable team member, demonstrating great leadership and networking skills. In fact, people around the office jokingly call him Mr. 24/7.
Joe is one of thousands of military veterans in our community. Today’s veterans bring unique skills and experience to the civilian workforce. Their advanced training and ability to adapt to new circumstances make them excellent employees, with a high rate of retention.
John Ed McDanal, District Manager for the Gulf Power Company in Panama City, Florida told me that “Veterans bring leadership to the workplace. They are dependable, disciplined and have a strong commitment to excellence.”
Jeanette Deatherage, Veterans Employment Representative at our local one stop career center and a military veteran herself explained to me that the military trains people to perform. “They do their job, do it right the first time and do it in a timely manner. They are continuously setting priorities, meeting schedules and accomplishing their missions.”
There are numerous skills and attributes that today’s veterans bring to the table. According to the US Department of Labor, here are the top five reasons to hire veterans:
Not only does hiring veterans make good business sense, but it allows you to return the favor for their service and sacrifice. As an added bonus, businesses may even qualify for tax credits and incentives for hiring disabled vets. For more information on hiring veterans, please contact your local one stop career center or visit www.careeronestop.org.
Kim Bodine, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Workforce Board
The Imagine Cup 2011 competition is already in full swing. Students are beginning to assemble their teams and thinking about their projects and the problems they want to solve.
This year we are launching a new program called “Imagine Cup Solve This” to provide additional inspiration for students looking for project ideas. “Imagine Cup Solve This” takes the concept of solving the world’s toughest problems a step further by connecting students with specific, real problems that inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) need help solving. Students can access a library of problems submitted by the organizations on imaginecup.com to find issues that matter most to them and then put their ideas into action as they create technology solutions in several different categories of competition.
For example, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is looking for technology solutions to promote and assist organizations and educators that foster early reading and literacy among young children, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) wants a knowledge management system, or “online campus,” with virtual classrooms that allows teachers to interact, collaborate and share information with their students. NetHope is also participating, and we plan to extend this program over time to include submissions from all IGOs and NGOs from around the world that are interested in participating.
The Imagine Cup started in 2003 with only 1,000 competitors from 25 countries. In the first few years, interest grew modestly. As the competition developed, we decided a great source of inspiration would be to focus on solving societal issues. Leveraging the United Nations Millennial Development Goals as a guide, registration soared.
In 2010, more than 325,000 students from 100 countries and regions entered the competition. It became evident to us that students care deeply about major issues such as improving education, combating diseases, and ensuring environmental sustainability, and want to do their part to save the world.
Students can register their team today at www.imaginecup.com.
What a better way to connect real-world problems with real-world problem-solvers. We see “Imagine Cup Solve This” as just the beginning of a new approach to how NGOs and other organizations can tap into students’ creativity and technology savvy.
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