Microsoft programs aimed at sparking tech skills and jobs in northeast Wisconsin – Green Bay Press Gazette
GRAND CHUTE – Northeast Wisconsin is one of six regions in the country chosen by Mircosoft for a new program aimed at providing broadband access to rural areas while also teaching young people about digital skills and careers.
The company rolled out its TechSpark Initiative Thursday at Fox Valley Technical College in Grand Chute. The project is centered on Outagamie and Brown counties but also targets smaller communities in North Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
“How do we get more skilled professionals? How do we get more students looking at technology?” said Michelle Schuler, the program’s community engagement manager for Wisconsin. “Technology is not going away, so we’re here to help it grow.”
Microsoft has an education presence in the state with its Technology Education and Literacy in Schools program, including 10 schools in, and around, Appleton and Green Bay. The program is designed to bring industry and education together to teach computer science in schools.
Schuler said the program can play a large role in keeping, and attracting, a young workforce to the area and state.
“The more we can spur entrepreneurship, the more we can educate our kids, not only in the schools but outside of the schools, how they stay involved with the community and companies, and what opportunities are here, (that) will allow and encourage people to stay,” she said.
Elements of the new initiative are still in the works and are expected to evolve through meetings with educators, community, and businesses, Schuler said.
As part of the program, Microsoft is looking at how it can support non-profit organizations in the area. The company also is working with area businesses to explore options to provide rural broadband access to more people.