Microsoft doubles down on partnership with the city of Houston by committing $1M to programs
Microsoft and the city of Houston have introduced a new program aimed at addressing technology skills development across Houston.
Accelerate: Houston is part of Microsoft's larger global skills initiative. Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the program at a press conference on Monday, August 24.
"More than two years ago, I announced our first transformative alliance with Microsoft — the first of its kind in the United States," says Mayor Sylvester Turner, according to a press release. "Today, I am pleased to say we are taking another leap toward strengthening Houston's global standing as a center for innovation and technology."
The Houston partners on the initiative include The Ion, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Kino-Eye Center, Upskill Houston, University of Houston College of Technology, and Space Center Houston
"Microsoft launched the Accelerate program at a time when closing the digital divide has never been more important," says Kate Johnson, president of Microsoft U.S., in the release. "We're thrilled to be joining Mayor Turner and an impressive group of partners in this effort to expand access to in-demand digital skills—and close digital skills gaps widened by COVID-19—through Accelerate: Houston."
Through this expanded partnership, Microsoft has committed $1 million into programs for The Ion, an entrepreneurship hub being built by Rice Management Co. and currently under construction in Midtown.
"With this digital alliance, one of history's most important and innovative technology companies becomes a key pillar of The Ion," says David Leebron, president of Rice University, in the release. "Microsoft will help implement the vision to make Houston's new innovation district a focal point for the future of energy, artificial intelligence, data science and smart cities."
Microsoft has previously partnered with Houston in a few ways, including partnering on The Ion Smart Cities Accelerator.
Susan Davenport, chief economic development officer with the Greater Houston Partnership, says the announcement shows that the city is on the right track for upskilling its workforce.
"As we have continued to navigate the global COVID-19 crisis and are steering the changes in our energy sector, we feel Microsoft's commitment validates the strong direction into which Houston is now moving," she says in a statement.