The continued cost of the war in Ukraine and those it leaves behind

I'm traumatized.

My grandson is now an orphan and I want to give him a good future.

When the war in Ukraine broke out, I had to leave for Germany with my son because it was very dangerous to stay there.

I was working in a nuclear company in Kyiv.

I am a Ukrainian refugee, and I am looking for any kind of professional education in IT.

I am 54 years old, Ukrainian refugee.

Due to the circumstances in our country, I cannot work in my specialty. For more than 10 years, I have been teaching applied mathematics at the University.

I am a professional athlete.

These are quotes from our applicants for our continuing cohorts for displaced and vulnerable Ukrainians.  Our simple application has standard input fields for names and contact details.  It also has two additional questions:

  1. Why do you want to join our training cohort?
  2. Is there any additional relevant information you'd like to share with us or to clarify any of your above answers?

The answers have gone through some automatic translations, but I think the sentiment is still very clear.  People need help to start over.  They are eager to move forward and do whatever it takes for a new chance.

OIP (2)

Refresher on what we do and how we do it.

The Microsoft collection for Business Applications Professional skilling has been translated to Ukrainian (AI-assisted automated translation with manual review for minor edits).  This program gives a great introduction to the tech-adjacent knowledge and skills you need to start a career in tech.  It’s good in English, it’s good in Ukrainian.

The free cohorts take place in Telegram groups.  We tried Microsoft Teams but that proved to be a challenge on many levels because of many restrictions and issues with access to reliable connections and devices.  But the students are already in Telegram, so we go to where they are.

Each week students have an assignment from this translated content.  They also watch relevant (and subtitled in Ukrainian) videos.  And there are two questions per week (via a simple Microsoft Form) that they respond to.  These questions are great for relating the weekly topics into real-world actionable knowledge.  The questions are available in both English and Ukrainian.  I built a Power App with some swanky translation capabilities so students can respond in either language.  And then the swanky translation capabilities translate our feedback we’ve entered in the Power App from English to Ukrainian and send the student an email with feedback from an industry expert in their language.

The 6-week program exposes students to the world of Microsoft Business Applications, capabilities of the Dynamics 365 family of products, and career options. We hope to spark an interest to help them decide what is a good next move for them.  Many love the CRM side.  Many love the ERP side.  Even a few are interested in BC.

The next cohort is our biggest yet with a few hundred students enrolled.  We’re very fortunate in being able to recruit qualified volunteers to lend a hand to help us keep up. 

Everyone who applies is accepted.

Six-weeks is the plan, but anyone who needs more time gets all the time they need.

We’ve automated as much as we can and still provide personal touches and interactions.  We are all volunteers with full-time jobs but together we are making a small difference.  Thanks go out to Vlad, Dima, Kat, Olena, Andrew, and Britta for all they do to help keep this going.  Neither Britta nor I know Ukrainian language, but technology makes it feel seamless to participate.

After the 6 weeks, students stay in the Telegram groups and help the next group.  It is an amazing community that I am lucky to participate in from the sidelines.

What is your call to action?

  1. Send your Ukrainian friends and colleagues to us. They can join and learn.  Or they can join and help.
  2. Say yes if when I reach out to you with a specific ask. As the groups increase in size, we may need more help with weekly feedback to students.
  3. Find room in your organization for one of our grads as a new hire or apprentice. 

Part of our automation sends students an email to invite them to the Telegram group upon enrollment.  One student replied and I keep it pinned at the top of my inbox.

“Thanks you very much for your answer. It did me so much happy.”

It did me so much happy too.  It really did.

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