Microsoft helps local veterans find IT jobs

Microsoft's Military Affairs program

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Microsoft is giving Hampton Roads veterans the tools they need to succeed in the tech industry.

It’s all part of a program called Microsoft Software and Systems Academy.

Microsoft officials say those that complete the program have secured IT jobs with an average salary of more than $70,000.

“I can’t get the experience without getting the job, so I knew that was going to be a challenge leaving the service,” said Jillian Freinburg, a MSSA student and veteran.

Moving from one chapter of your life to another is never without its challenges, especially when you’re transitioning from the military back to civilian life.

“I would describe it as a trying, more so like a confusing time, and not just for you but your spouse as well,” said Anthony Patten, another MSSA student and veteran.

But several years ago, Microsoft stepped up to help make the transition smoother.

“We thought why not try to offer a program to those that are interested in IT that would benefit that transition, as well as benefit the IT industry. So that’s how the whole thing started,” said Microsoft Vice President of Military Affairs Christopher Cortez.

Cortez says more than 200,000 people get out of the military every year and there simply aren’t enough job opportunities for them.

This 18-week program trains students on everything from cyber security to business intelligence administration, and even some of the basics, like techniques for interviews.

“To be a part of something like this I feel is really an extremely great opportunity. I was overjoyed when I heard something about this because it’s exactly what I want to pursue,” said Patten.

“This program is working, this program is making a difference,” added Cortez.

At the end of the program, graduates get to interview for a full time job with Microsoft or one of their hiring partners.

They are in the second week of the Hampton Roads Program, and the students are set to graduate June 26.

If your’re a veteran who’s interested, you can find more information here.