Legion on advisory board for Microsoft initiative

Microsoft Corp. announced today that it is inviting organizations to submit proposals for the Elevate America Veterans Initiative, which focuses on giving veterans and their spouses the technology skills and support resources they need to be successful in today's civilian work force.

Through a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process, Microsoft will award cash, software and IT skills training curriculum to eligible veterans service organizations, work-force agencies, as well as other nonprofit organizations and their partners that are providing veterans and their spouses with the support they need to be successful in their transition to civilian careers. Support provided by these organizations may include technology skills training, job placement, career counseling and other support services such as childcare, transportation and housing. Organizations have until June 30 to apply to this initiative. Successful applicants will be announced in August.

The RFP is the first phase of Microsoft's Elevate America Veterans Initiative, which will provide $2 million in cash and up to $6 million in software and other resources over the next two years to offer veterans and their spouses with these necessary skills and resources. A second round of the competitive RFP process in 2011 will provide opportunities for the successful grantees to deepen their efforts based on results from the first phase and scale projects that have demonstrated effectiveness.

Microsoft announced the Elevate America Veterans Initiative in March as an extension of its Elevate America program, which has so far provided more than 600,000 vouchers for free technology training in 17 states and will be adopted by several more states in the coming weeks. Since this initiative was announced, Microsoft has convened organizations serving veterans to serve on an advisory committee for the Veterans Initiative over the next two years to help provide guidance and expertise throughout this process. The American Legion is among organizations on the advisory committee.

Successful applications will include collaborative partnerships between two or more organizations in the nonprofit, work-force development, labor and education sectors. Applicants may request between $100,000 to $200,000 cash, not to exceed 50 percent of the total program budget, as well as software and IT skills training curriculum. The RFP and more information are available at www.microsoft.com/veterans.

"This is a great initiative that Microsoft has come up with and complements some of our programs for veterans and their families," said Clarence Hill, national commander of The American Legion. "Our Heroes to Hometowns program helps wounded veterans with their return to the civilian world, and our Operation Military Family Outreach is geared toward helping service members and their families with the same kind of transition. Any program that helps our returning veterans find jobs in the current U.S. economy is a godsend, so we're very pleased to see that the initiative includes skills training and job placement for veterans."

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