Announcing Microsoft Elevate America’s Veterans Initiative!

Microsoft Corp. recently announced a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process for organizations to be a part of the Elevate America Veterans Initiative.  The initiative is designed to provide technology skills and support resources to veterans and their spouses when they transition to the civilian work force.  Applications are due on June 30, 2010, and the awardees will be named in August.  Click here to learn about eligibility and how your organization can participate.

The Elevate America Veterans Initiative is a new part of Microsoft’s Elevate America program, which provides free technology training in 17 states (more are coming soon) and already includes FREE online resources such as Microsoft Digital Literacy trainingMicrosoft Office Live Small BusinessMicrosoft StudentMicrosoft DreamSpark for Students, and Community Technology Skills Program Partners.

For the Veterans Initiative, “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. Organizations on the advisory committee include The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Service Organizations (USO), and Wounded Warrior Project.”  We’re proud to be a part of this innovative new program!

“We salute Microsoft for its ongoing support of the nation’s wounded veterans and wounded warriors,” says our President and CEO, Sloan Gibson. “The community-based efforts to support these troops and ease the transition from military to civilian life will improve their lives.”

“Wounded Warrior Project believes it is our duty to empower wounded service members with the tools they need to embark on a path toward a successful and meaningful career,” said WWP Executive Director Steve Nardizzi. “We commend Microsoft for creating Elevate America and for shouldering responsibility for the training and transition of our wounded warriors into the civilian work force.”

We invite veterans and their families to utilize the great resources already available, and we will keep you posted on the states and organizations that participate.  And you can always follow The USO and Elevate America on Twitter for the latest!

Click here to learn more about Elevate America’s Veterans Initiative!

The USO’s Board of Governors Visit Centers in Southwest Asia

Two members of the USO Board of Governors recently toured Kuwait as part of a three-day trip. Dennis Swanson and Sue Timken were accompanied by Sue’s husband William Timken, former US ambassador to Germany, and representatives of other major USO partners, including Sally Ann Zoll, CEO of United Through Reading; Steven Nardizzi, CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project; Mary Louise Austin, CEO of USO Georgia; and Bruce Nitsche of the Wounded Warrior Project.

The overall mission of the trip was to give the board and major stakeholders a chance to see the USO in action.  The tour kicked off with an in-depth look of the Wounded Warrior Unit at Camp Arifjan, where they all got a chance to meet with service members in recovery.  Day two of their journey brought them to Camp Ali Al Salem where USO center director Val Burnham and a few duty managers presented the group with a rundown of the special USO programs, which have started there and are actually implemented at various centers across Kuwait.

After Camp Ali Al Salem it was off to Camp Buehring, where they got a chance to see the difference a few miles make since the two bases are only about 25 miles apart. That night the board members wanted to take some of the USO volunteers out to dinner as a thank you. The last day of the tour the group visited Camp Virginia. At Camp Virginia they got a chance to see the base and what it’s really like for the soldiers there.

We’d like to thank all of these guests for spending time at our centers in Kuwait.  You are welcome back any time!

USO BOG

Dr. Seuss continues to unite family members half way around the world. Sally Zoll CEO of United Through Reading discusses a service member’s book selection while he waits to read to a love one at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Sally was part of a three day USO Board of Governors tour of Kuwait. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

Even after volunteering 30 hours in three days, this USO volunteer still has a smile on his face as he poses with members of the USO Board of Governors, Dennis Swanson and Sue Timken at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

USO Board of Governors member Sue Timken gets a chance to get in on the action when multiple people came up to the USO front desk counter as she checks in service members at USO Camp Buehring. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

USO Board of Governors member Sue Timken (center) gets a chance to feel as confidant as most soldiers do. Timken along with other board members took time to thank service members for all they do while serving in the Persian Gulf. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

Some USO volunteers were so excited to have a nice dinner thanks to the USO Board of Governors who took them to the Seven Seas restaurant in Kuwait City. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

USO volunteers at Camp Ali Al Salem take time to greet USO Board of Governors members and other dignitaries on one of their stops during their tour in Kuwait. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

USO Board of Governors members spend time with troops assigned to the Wounded Warrior Unit at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. This was just one of their stops as part of a three day tour of Kuwait. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)