In an effort to speed up economic growth in rural and smaller metropolitan areas, Microsoft is launching a multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment program – TechSpark. The program is intended to help students learn computer science, expand rural broadband connectivity and help create more lucrative jobs. It also aims to learn more about regional challenges and develop appropriate solutions for them to improve local economic growth.
In the beginning, TechSpark will solely focus in six communities across the United States. These include North Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The company said then it would also partner with rural telecommunications providers in 12 states with a goal of getting 2 million rural Americans high-speed internet over the next five years.
Americans living in rural communities still do not have robust broadband connectivity. TechSpark program aims to change this equation, soon.
TechSpark is a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment meant to help teach computer science to students, expand rural broadband and create and fill jobs. North Dakota currently has more than 13,000 job openings, says Microsoft President Brad Smith. Our goal is to learn about local challenges and to implement and learn from digital initiatives to help accelerate growth, with a plan to then share that learning more broadly. We are working in communities and with local partners on five programs that will help accelerate economic growth through regional internet connectivity, digital skills development, career skills development, nonprofit support and digital business transformation, he further added.
Findings reveal, nearly 500,000 computing jobs in the U.S remain vacant/unfulfilled – and the worrying figure is expected to triple by the end of next year. North Dakota alone has more than 13,000 job openings, many in computer software and engineering.
Certainly, it will take time for things to materialize. However, the initiative promises to evolve based on its learnings. Well begun is half done!