/Microsoft launches program in Jackson to grow tech job opportunities, workers skills

Microsoft launches program in Jackson to grow tech job opportunities, workers skills

JJ Townsend is a Long Beach native who will be managing TechSpark Jackson. The announcement was made Wednesday. Townsend stated that Mississippi has a lot talent and drive, but there is not much opportunity. TechSpark provides digital skills training, workforce development and support for entrepreneurs. It’s a huge amount. We have been last in many categories, and we are often last. Computer science offers us a way to not be.” Microsoft launched the program in Central Washington, Southern Virginia and Wyoming. It is also available in North Dakota, Wisconsin Wisconsin, Texas, Texas, Mexico, North Dakota, North Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Texas. According to Microsoft, TechSpark is designed to fill economic gaps by providing skills training and supporting local startups and non-profits. Computer science education is Townsend’s passion. As a Teach for America alumni, he helped to create a Microsoft program that would allow Jackson high schools to offer computer science education. Townsend stated, “I know what it feels like to teach and what it looks to see when a student learns how to code.” According to the tech company, “Technology could transform their trajectory.” The program will be offered in all Jackson public high schools this school year and will teach approximately 200 students. Microsoft’s TechSpark goals mirror those that the state acknowledged in its workforce development office Accelerate Mississippi, which was established last year. Both Accelerate Mississippi, the state’s economic Council have pointed out that Mississippi’s shortage of skilled workers is a top concern for all businesses. Townsend believes that the program will shift its focus to Jackson in the future. He said, “We recognize that Mississippi’s success is dependent on a thriving Jackson.” He said that pilots are the main focus of the program, but they’re also tracking the success. And programs that do well could be replicated throughout the state. Microsoft stated that the program is helping to boost Jackson State University, a historically Black college. It also launched a cyber-readiness program to help students prepare for their future. Microsoft claims the program will provide cybersecurity training for at least 100 students. Microsoft is partnering up with Innovate Mississippi (a local nonprofit founded in 2000) to offer a 12-week program that will help Mississippi entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Already, 21 founders have been trained – over 300 applicants – how to win funding and attract investors. Innovate Mississippi also offers a five-week pilot program that provides career coaching for unemployed participants. The goal of the program is to place 80% of its graduates in better or new roles within six months. A partnership plan will also create a Jackson “makerspace”, a space in a building that can host programming this summer. TechSpark and Microsoft are able to use our names to attract other philanthropic partners. Townsend stated that they are happy to be the first to mover and that they are on board. “We are excited about the current situation on the ground and how we can help it.