Microsoft’s TechSparks Program is Gaining Ground in Wyoming

Monday, April 09, 2018

Microsoft is investing in Wyoming through the establishment of their TechSparks Program. This creates an incredible opportunity for growth and expansion within the technology and IT sectors. To learn more about the program and why they chose Wyoming, we interviewed Dennis Ellis, Microsoft’s TechSpark Manager for Wyoming.

WEDA: Why is Microsoft interested in Wyoming?

 DE: Microsoft chose Wyoming because of the rural nature of the Laramie County area as well as the location of a datacenter in the area.  The hope is that we develop interesting projects that can be scaled up in other areas like Cheyenne and around the country.  Other rural communities chosen to participate in the program include Fargo, North Dakota; Quincy, WA; Appleton, WI; El Paso, TX and Boydton, VA.

WEDA: What activities are happening as a result of the initiative?

 DE: Because the program is in its infancy, we are on the front end of talking to the community about their needs and efforts to diversify the economy in the technology space.  Areas of focus for Microsoft include: Digital Transformation Initiatives, Digital Skills and Computer Science Education, Career Pathways, Rural Broadband Deployment and Support for Nonprofits.  One specific program we are trying to deploy is TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) that can help to bring computer science education to more high schools in this region.  TEALS is an industry wide effort that brings computer science engineers from Microsoft and other companies together with classroom teachers and team-teach computer science.  Another example is a newer certification program we have partnered with LCCC on to provide curriculum and materials for future datacenter employee needs.

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