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Business & Innovation

Microsoft aims to transform WIsconsin into an AI hub

todayMay 8, 2024

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Microsoft aims to transform WIsconsin into an AI hub

Microsoft has announced a substantial $3.3 billion investment package designed to strengthen the role of Southeast Wisconsin as a hub for AI-powered economic activity, innovation, and job creation. This investment comes six years after the highly publicized but ultimately failed $10 billion investment by Foxconn in the same location. Microsoft’s project is set to create 2,300 union construction jobs by 2025 and provide long-term employment opportunities over the next several years.

The investment package includes a four-part strategy to create long-term benefits for the state’s economy and job market. First, Microsoft will invest $3.3 billion between now and the end of 2026 to expand its national cloud and AI infrastructure capacity through the development of a state-of-the-art datacenter campus in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. This new infrastructure will help enable companies in Wisconsin and across the country to develop, deploy, and use advanced cloud services and AI applications to grow, modernize, and improve their products and enterprises. Microsoft will also partner with Gateway Technical College to build a Data Center Academy to train and certify more than 1,000 students in five years to work in the new data center and IT sector jobs created in the area.

Second, Microsoft will establish a manufacturing-focused AI Co-Innovation Lab on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the first of its kind in the United States. This lab will connect Wisconsin manufacturers and other companies with Microsoft’s AI experts and developers to design and prototype AI and cloud solutions to improve and accelerate their work and grow their business. The lab aims to serve 270 Wisconsin companies by 2030, including 135 manufacturing businesses. It will also connect with TitletownTech in Green Bay, which was co-founded in 2017 and is funded in part by Microsoft and the Green Bay Packers.

Third, Microsoft will partner with United Way Wisconsin, United Way Racine, and other community partners to upskill more than 100,000 people across Wisconsin by 2030 on generative AI. This curriculum will help train residents to use new applications, including Microsoft Copilot, a Microsoft AI service suite that enhances productivity and creativity. Microsoft will also work with Gateway Technical College to train and certify 3,000 local AI software developers and provide opportunities for 1,000 local business, civic, and government leaders to participate in immersive bootcamps to learn how to adopt generative AI into their organizations effectively.

Finally, Microsoft will invest in a series of long-term local education and youth employment programs to support the community. In partnership with the Racine Unified School District (RUSD), Microsoft will work with Girls in STEM to expand its program to two additional RUSD middle schools, providing access to STEM education for more than 500 middle school-aged girls over the next five years. Working with Racine County, Microsoft will support their Summer Youth Employment Program, matching at least 125 young people (16-18 years old) with local employers to receive soft skills and on-the-job training annually.

Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is also set to benefit from the ripple effects of Microsoft’s investment. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a leading research institution, is well-positioned to collaborate with Microsoft and contribute to the growing AI ecosystem in the state. Milwaukee has been designated as a Tech Hub under the CHIPS and Science Act, focusing on the biohealth sector. It has also been named an Investing in America Workforce Hub, underlining its commitment to evidence-based partnerships for place-based workforce development programs.

Microsoft’s investment in Wisconsin is part of President Biden’s broader Investing in America agenda, which aims to grow the economy from the middle-out and bottom-up, focusing on historically overlooked communities. This investment represents a significant step forward for Racine, Milwaukee, and Wisconsin as a whole, leveraging the power of AI and investing in workforce development.


Written by: Tarik Moody

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