Microsoft’s TechSpark program to help small communities turns 5

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It’s no secret, technology is advancing at a rapid pace and creating new opportunities daily.  It’s changing how we communicate, how we learn, how we work, and how we access the essential services needed in our communities.  These services often remain out of reach for our rural and underserved metropolitan areas.  Five years ago Microsoft launched TechSpark, a program designed to accelerate economic growth in six communities across the United States and Mexico to change that.

Techspark works with local community organizations and nonprofits to create opportunities.  Today Microsoft is announcing that the TechSpark program is available in all 50 states via the TechSpark Fellows model.  Microsoft will provide funding and hands-on training through a local partnership with each state in a partner-driven model.  The TechSpark program will focus on four key areas in each community.

  • Digital access:  Building the infrastructure needed to provide online access to services and materials
  • Computer Science Education: Building computer Science programs in local schools
  • Digital Skills:  Helping people learn the skills needed for the jobs of the future
  • Digital Transformation: Helping the local communities and nonprofits use technology to face problems and compete in the industry

To make sure everyone benefits from what Microsoft has learned over the last five years they are releasing a playbook and a resource hub to help communities replicate some of the scenarios they encountered.  As the TechSpark Fellows program unfolds Microsoft will continue to share regular public updates so organizations outside of the program can learn from what worked and what didn’t.  Microsoft remains hopeful that the community-driven model will bring success across the country.  An information session is being held on March 1, to learn more you can sign up here.