Microsoft Helps LA Become the First City to Offer Big-Tech Job Training and Placement for Veterans

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(Courtesy of Microsoft)

Tech giant Microsoft is one of the world’s most valuable companies, and it increasingly is relying on veterans to bring their work ethic to the information technology field and “reskill” in the jobs of the 21st century.

The company is so devoted to the idea that it launched the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA) in 2013 to train veterans. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, it went a step further, providing the training free of cost and completely remote.

Read: Microsoft Is Now Offering Its Military-Veteran Upskilling Programs at No Cost to Veterans

Now Microsoft is teaming with the City of Los Angeles and corporate partners like TikTok, Blizzard Entertainment and Boeing to create the Los Angeles Veterans Technology Training Academy (LAVTTA) with the same purpose. It will be the first city in the United States to offer this kind of training to residents.

As of 2019, Los Angeles had a veteran population of more than 243,000 people. That makes it America’s second-largest veteran population, second only to Maricopa County, Arizona. Nearly one-quarter of those veterans belong to the post-9/11 era.

"We owe it to those who protected their country where we, as companies, have the opportunity to succeed," Roland Cloutier, TikTok's Chief Security Officer, said in a statement.

Microsoft’s original MSSA was (and still is) available to veterans during their last 180 days of military service through the Department of Defense SkillBridge program. Recognizing that SkillBridge was initiated in 2014, many older veterans didn’t have access to the program. The LAVTTA program is open to all veteran residents of Los Angeles County, regardless of age or service status.

The Los Angeles training program still comes with no out-of-pocket costs for veterans and provides the same great remote training, certification and opportunity for graduates to go to work for one of America’s industrial and technological giants, be it with Microsoft, Oracle or another of the MSSA’s 700-plus partners.

It also offers training on resume preparation, teaching military members to translate military skills into civilian language, as well as interviewing and professional development.

“Microsoft believes its role as an industry leader is to enable veterans to see computer science and STEM careers as a viable path when transitioning to civilian life in the public or private sector,” Chris Cortez, Microsoft’s vice president of military affairs, said in a statement. “The Los Angeles Veterans Technology Training Academy, based on the MSSA, also helps Microsoft and other IT leaders attract capable, driven and diverse talent with solid, transferable skills.”

LAVTTA’s version of the program is still intensive and requires 16 weeks to complete. It is focused on training veterans in the software engineering, cloud application development and cloud administration areas of the Big Tech sector.

“Veterans have given so much to our country and the least we can do is help connect them to opportunities to thrive here at home,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “The men and women who served our country in uniform are some of the most diligent and hard-working people in Los Angeles -- and this new program will give them a chance to tap into a thriving sector of our economy and make a living for themselves and their families.”

The first LAVTTA class is scheduled to begin on Aug. 30, 2021, and is accepting applications for the first cohort. Like the Microsoft program, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Proof of Los Angeles residency is required for acceptance.

Veterans interested in applying or who want to learn more about the program should email JVS SOCAL at veterans@JVS-SOCAL.org.

-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

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