Mississippi Digital News

Microsoft launches TechSpark in Jackson


Microsoft is bringing TechSpark to Mississippi, and Jackson resident JJ Townsend will lead the tech giant, according to reporting by Sara DiNatale with Mississippi Today.

TechSpark aids communities that usually don’t get many tech opportunities and helps to expand technology education and business development. Microsoft already has working programs in Washington, Virginia, Wyoming, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Texas, and Mexico. 

Townsend is a University of Mississippi graduate and a Teach for America alumni. He has already successfully developed a program along with Microsoft that has successfully implemented computer science education in every public high school in Jackson starting in 2023.

“There’s a lot of talent and drive in Mississippi, but not a lot of opportunity,” Townsend told Mississippi Today. “TechSpark is providing digital skill training, workforce development, and entrepreneurship support. That’s really big. We are last a lot of times, in a lot of categories. But in computer science, there’s a chance for us not to be.”

“I know what it’s like to be a teacher and what it looks like when a student learns to code,” Townsend said. “Technology can transform their trajectory.” 

Microsoft has other partnerships planned to help boost Jackson’s tech economy. 

“The beauty of TechSpark and Microsoft is we can use our name to get other philanthropic partners. We’re on board and happy to be the first mover,” Townsend said. “We’re really excited about what’s happening on the ground right now and how we can plug in and support it.” 

[screencap courtesy Mississippi Today]

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