New career skills program provides Soldiers with opportunities

By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /

The Fort Benning Education Center’s Career Skills program is partnering with Microsoft Software and Systems Academy, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to offer a new program for Soldiers.

The MSSA program is a full-time, 18-weeklong program that provides active-duty Soldiers with the necessary career skills to meet the information technology industry’s demand for cloud developers, cloud administrators and database and business intelligence administrators.

“There are two components to the (MSSA) program, ” said Ralph Bremer, the Career Skills program coordinator. “There’s a technical part where they learn the technical skills, and then in the afternoon they’ll learn soft skills: interviewing, resume writing, mock interviews, networking and setting up LinkedIn accounts.”

Bremer explained that the MSSA program is tentatively scheduled for August if the minimum 18 Soldiers applies for the course. Veterans are also welcomed to apply.

Applicants are required to take a test to be able to attend classes for the MSSA program.

“That’s the Microsoft Technology Associate Certificate 98-361. It is required and is just basic information technology questions,” said Bremer.

Bremer also noted that upon graduating from the MSSA program, Soldiers will receive an initial interview with Microsoft.

“The course itself is partnered with over 150 different IT companies at this current time,” said Kevin Aker, the transitions services specialist at the Soldiers for Life center. “So taking into consideration where the Soldier may want to go or the Veteran may want to live, where the opportunities are available, overall the course is touting a mid-90s placement rate.”

Starting salaries in the IT industry averages $70,000, but may vary depending on the company. With the MSSA program, Soldiers also receive 18 credit hours because of the partnership with an accredited school like Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

“This is also a stepping stone to something much bigger,” said Aker. “This hopefully will lead to an IT type career where if that’s what the Soldier really desires, if they don’t already have such, start working towards their bachelor’s in IT and going different places with it.”

Bremer said to attend a briefing to get a MSSA application form.

Briefings are every Wednesday at 10 a.m. and noon at the Soldier for Life auditorium in Building 9230.

Soldiers can contact ERAU associate director, Ashley Molina at 706-478-7394 or at columbus@erau.edu. They can also contact LaToya Armstrong-Melvin at 706-505-1101 or at columbus@erau.edu.

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