Operation Supply Drop Team Seattle kicked off a partnership with the Microsoft Give foundation to provide soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord a professional development course hosted by Microsoft employees at their Redmond Campus. Hosting 7 soldiers from the Warrior Transition Battalion and 3 airmen, Microsoft provided an amazing and impactful service to 10 soldiers, all preparing for their transition back into the civilian world.
With Microsoft employees from both the Holo Lens and Surface divisions, Microsoft gave each soldier nearly two hours of two on one experience. Along with pizza and refreshments, the course provided a relaxed environment that resulted in every participant experiencing a unique and engaging opportunity. With designers and developers to coders and program managers, there was a wide range of employees for soldiers to speak with and the results were phenomenal.
By fore going the traditional class room environment, Microsoft provided an opportunity for free flowing conversations between their employees and the soldiers. This led to engaging conversations that answered the unique questions each soldier had. With two employees to every soldier, it also provided multiple opinions and experiences for each participant to pull from. “It was very informative and helpful in setting me on a path to pursue a career in IT. The Microsoft employees helped me set up an education goal, as well as milestones to accomplish between now and retirement, while also providing me with real world answers about what the job entails and what I should expect.” said Christian Howard, an 18 year airman nearing his retirement.
This course also served as a form of growth for the Microsoft employees as well, with many employees mentioning the positive aspects of their experience hosting the course. Multiple employees mentioned their surprise in how much they learned themselves, from speaking with both the soldiers and their fellow Microsoft employees. As one employee noted, “It was a really insightful experience. I didn’t expect to take away as much as I did. This was for the soldiers, but any one of us would mention something and multiple times, the other two were taking notes. It was definitely a positive experience for everyone.”
It was such a positive experience that Microsoft, Team Seattle, and the WTB are already working on planning the next course. Seattle Veteran Team Lead Chance Mcpheron said of the course, “The hope is to make these courses a reoccurring activity. Every soldier that participated left feeling like they were better equipped for their upcoming transition to the civilian world. The way Microsoft opened their doors for these soldiers is amazing, and created an extremely welcoming environment. Not only did this provide an amazing impact for the soldiers included, because of it’s nature the WTB experiences a high turnover rate, and if we did this again in a few months we could impact an entirely new group of soldiers!”