Chicago/ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 14, 2024
Free Tech Academy for Veterans Launches in Chicago, Applications Open for Microsoft-Linked Training ProgramSource: Unsplash/Mimi Thian

Veterans in Chicago and suburban Cook County are getting another shot at tech glory, as the Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs opens the application process for its free 11-week Chicago Cook Technology Academy (Tech Academy). The Academy, birthed from a unique partnership involving Cook County, Microsoft, and the National Able Network, is tailored to furnish veterans with the digital tools and knowledge necessary for the growing tech industry. The clock is ticking though, applications must be submitted by the nocturnal deadline of Sunday, July 14, according to the Cook County Government.

Since the program's inception in October 2022, the Tech Academy has seen three cohorts pass through its digital doors — with solid outcomes to boot. Of the 32 grads waving the course completion banners, 24 have scored jobs, and not just any jobs. These positions come with a healthy average starting wage of $30.27 per hour, not too shabby for emerging techies. The training, drawing from the teachings of Microsoft’s Software and Systems Academy, is crafted specifically for the tech-intrigued retiring servicemen and women.

A shining beacon of the program is its accessibility, made possible through a generous allowance of $750,000, courtesy of the American Rescue Plan Act funding, as per the Cook County Government. Thanks to these dollars, veterans can partake in this opportunity at the great price of zero. As for the spread of the program, Cook County isn't just pioneering locally but is the second in the nation to offer this partnership with Microsoft, blending education with empowerment.

For the vets interested in trading camouflage for coding, or tactical maneuvers for tech strategy, details and the application can be found at the Tech Academy's website