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The Fort Benning Army Education Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 17 to celebrate the beginning of the first Cloud Application Developer Course, a component of the Microsoft Career Skills Program for transitioning Soldiers.
The course is a result of a partnership between the Microsoft Software Systems Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Fort Benning Education Center/Soldier for Life Programs.
This is a great opportunity for Fort Benning, its Soldiers and the community, said Ralph Bremer, education services specialist and career skills program manager.
Bremer looks forward to seeing the Soldiers graduate and get well-paying jobs.
He offered words of encouragement to those currently in the program and those looking to enroll, urging them to study as hard as they can no matter how many hours it takes.
Huberta Dukes, the MSSA instructors, hopes Soldiers will take a lot away from the course.
They're going to be doing so much learning. With that, they'll gain the necessary skills to be able to go into their careers. They're going to get everything they need to start off as a developer, Dukes said.
"I thought this can't be real," said Staff Sgt. David Porter, a student in the program, about the moment he learned about the moment.
"There's so much value not only in the education part of it, but the chance to interview with Microsoft and its partners. IT is a field that's growing and will continue to grow. I'm looking to entering that realm as I transition into a career outside the military."
"I'm looking forward to learning about the development side of IT," he added. It's a completely new language for me."
Jackie Marshall, a veteran, attended Embry Riddle while stationed in Spain.
"I found out there was a campus on Fort Benning and I enrolled into classes," said Marshall. "My counselors asked if I would be interested in joining the program and I agreed."
Marshall looks forward to learning a lot in the course and having the chance to further his career in the IT field.
"I'mvery excited to be a part of this," she added. "I think it's a really great program. I appreciate the opportunity to help the Soldiers become a success as they transition out the military."
"From the beginning, we've have great support from the garrison command and the leadership here," said Beth Jarvis, base engagement manager for Microsoft, "We're really excited to the bring the program here."
Jarvis advised each of the students to work hard. "What they put into is what they're going to get out of it," she said. "I want them to realize that from the beginning and work hard. If they do, the dividends are going to be there for them."
Jarvis explained that individuals must take the Microsoft Technology Associate exam and pass it before enrolling in the program.
That can scare people off sometimes, but it shouldn't. You can study for it and you can overcome that. The program has lots of examples of people who've done just that in this cohort, she added.
"Even if you don't have a background in information technology, don't be afraid to apply. We have people who've been snipers, cooks, or worked in other military occupational specialty areas who have done really well and are now working for Microsoft."
Carol Headley, MSSA program director, believes that Soldiers already have the tools necessary to succeed.
"Remember that you're already a leader and have proven you're a great talent," she said. "We've had almost 150 companies hire these graduates."
For more information about the MSSA/ERAU program or how to enroll, call 706-478-7394 or 706-505-1101. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the MSSA website at http://military.microsoft.com/training/mssa.