We are proud to announce that we will be collaborating with Microsoft TechSpark to foster inclusive economic opportunity, job creation, and innovation in Kentucky’s 54 Appalachian counties.
The support will build capacity around our Office of Digital Equity. This includes awareness and enrollment in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, digital skilling and job training, remote work employment, and increased telehealth access.
SOAR is a regional nonpartisan nonprofit that champions local projects, programs, and advocacy for the 54 ARC-mandated counties in Eastern Kentucky. The organization’s mandate is to fill the economic gaps left by the decline of the coal industry. SOAR rallies communities to achieve goals together for the good of all.
It starts with Community
The Microsoft grant will help fund a TechSpark Community Engagement Fellow, who will spearhead local efforts, working with local partners to promote digital equity. This Fellowship represents the first time TechSpark has worked in Kentucky.
“We are honored to be collaborating with Microsoft to build out our digital equity efforts,” said Colby Hall, Executive Director of SOAR. “This speaks volumes to the success we have had working alongside community and regional partners to bring greater access and digital equity across the region.”
“Since we launched TechSpark in 2017, we’ve helped communities secure more than $125 million in funding and helped create thousands of jobs,” said Kate Behncken, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Philanthropies. “By expanding TechSpark to all 50 states, we hope to continue our hyperlocal, partner-driven work to help communities realize the potential of technology and foster greater economic opportunity.”
A proven program
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the expansion of its TechSpark program to tackle digital
inclusion in four focus areas: digital access, digital skills, computer science education, and digital transformation with local-based organizations. Since its inception in 2017, TechSpark has helped its eight communities secure more than $125 million in community funding, skill 55,000 people, and create 3,300 jobs. Read more about Microsoft TechSpark HERE.
To learn more about SOAR’s Office of Digital Equity, visit https://soar-ky.org/acp/.