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Microsoft to provide software training on DC’s poorest areas

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Microsoft will open their first Innovation Centers in Southeast D.C.’s former St. Elizabeth hospital.

Microsoft officials announced their plans of opening software training centers in D.C.’s city-owned east campus.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray prioritized the redevelopment of the east campus of St. Elizabeth as one of his major economic development projects. He also keeps on repeating that he wants Microsoft to play a major role in this development.

Officials of the giant tech company announced last week that they are committed to help in the development project by opening their Microsoft Innovation Centers, which are facilities that provide software trainings for both students and entrepreneurs in emerging economic areas.

At present, there are 100 Microsoft Innovation Centers all over the world. Most of the centers are stationed in Eastern Europe, Brazil and India.

To date, there are no Microsoft Innovation Centers yet in the United States, but there is one opening soon in Miami and one Venture Hive in Houston.

According to Microsoft citizenship director Donna Woodall, the company’s innovation center that will be put up in D.C. is an extension of their effort to promote computer literacy for students and job-seekers in D.C. through an alliance between D.C public schools and the city employment agency. This alliance was already a couple of years ago.

The main idea for the innovation centers revolves around the main idea of supporting the city’s key pillars, which are improvement of educational outcome, employment and entrepreneurship, said Woodall.

According to Microsoft’s public sector business senior director Dan Kasun their innovation centers also help the company introduce their products to a broader and new market. The centers help the company market their products and at the same time improve the economy, because their products support new start-ups and help them grow.

Mayor Gray’s team is looking for a real estate developer to improve the campus where the Microsoft Innovation Center will be placed.

The city’s project manager Catherine Buell said she aims for Microsoft to occupy 10,000 square feet in one of the historical brick buildings in D.C., which used to house mental patients.

Buell said Microsoft opened up opportunities for a city that needs entrepreneurial investments and tech investments.

Microsoft already signed a letter of intent as a commitment to open the center in the city, but it is yet to come up with the final terms to open the software training facility in 2016.

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