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Louisville celebrates two years of Microsoft collaboration

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mayor Greg Fischer and Microsoft US Chief Digital Officer Jacky Wright on Tuesday celebrated the two-year anniversary of the collaboration between the city and Microsoft to establish the city as a regional hub for artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and data science.

Louisville is looking toward the next chapter of their relationship with Microsoft with the announcement that Louisville is joining Accelerate, Microsoft’s initiative to promote digital skilling for traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities and pave the way for increasing inclusive economic opportunity.

Within Accelerate Louisville, Louisville and Microsoft will continue to build upon the Future Work Initiative’s equitable skilling efforts over the last two years.

“Louisville is a community that prides itself on leaning into the future, and we have to do all we can to prepare for and respond to the tide of technology, society and the economy. Microsoft has been an invaluable partner over these historic past two years, helping to provide new opportunities for our city and its residents, particularly people in communities that were historically left behind from new opportunities,” the mayor said.

To date, the Louisville-Microsoft relationship  has led to creation of the Future of Work Initiative, which in the past two years has:

  • Hosted two AI conferences with more than 1,000 participants each year
  • Partnered with Jefferson County Public Schools to create a new equity-focused informatics and analytics career pathway called ID+ Academy
  • Launched the COVID-19 upskilling initiative, in collaboration  with University of Louisville, General Assembly, Humana, AMPED, and Louisville Central Community Centers to create new data training pathways and upskilling initiatives in the wake of COVID-19. The majority of the attendees of these instructor-led courses were people of color. Likewise, a majority of attendees identified as female.
  • Partnered with the Brookings Institution to create a regional economic strategy for artificial intelligence
  • Launched The Butterfly Project, a partnership between Central High School, Bellarmine University, Louisville Urban League, A Path Forward, and Humana. The Butterfly Project was a paid internship for students to learn data analytics for the purpose of empowering the mission of local nonprofits in the realms of jobs, justice, health, housing, and education.

In the year ahead, the Future of Work Initiative—now part of the Microsoft Accelerate —will keep striving to create a more equitable data ecosystem by expanding education and skilling opportunities, deepening our work with educational institutions such as JCPS and Louisville’s own HBCU, Simmons College, building connections to more family-supporting jobs, and partnering with innovative industry leaders to upskill our workforce in a way that impacts economic development and creates an ecosystem of AI for good.

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