PRESS RELEASE: High Technology Foundation Selected as Part of Microsoft’s National TechSpark Program to Grow Economic Opportunity in West Virginia

High Technology Foundation Selected as Part of Microsoft’s National TechSpark Program to Grow Economic Opportunity in West Virginia

The High Technology Foundation and Microsoft to work together to ensure regional economic diversification.

FAIRMONT, WV July 20, 2023 The High Technology Foundation announced today that it will be working with Microsoft TechSpark to foster inclusive economic opportunity, job creation, and innovation in West Virginia.  Diversifying West Virginia’s economy with a strong knowledge sector is a critical but challenging goal.  The ability to leverage Microsoft TechSpark’s resources will help mitigate some of the challenges preventing the state from reaching its full potential.

The High Technology Foundation is focused on building a business case that will drive the growth of a knowledge sector in West Virginia.  This effort will now be supported by a Microsoft grant to fund a TechSpark Community Engagement Fellow, who will spearhead local efforts, working with local partners to pursue initiatives, such as promoting inclusive digital skilling, digital inclusion, digital access, and digital transformation.  This Fellowship represents the first time TechSpark has worked in West Virginia.

“The High Technology Foundation is honored to have been chosen by Microsoft to participate in the TechSpark expansion.  Microsoft has been a valued collaborator of our organization for some time, and we are excited to evolve that collaboration to a new level,” said Jim Estep, President and CEO, High Technology Foundation.

“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.”

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.


The High Technology Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Fairmont, W.Va., functioning as an engine of economic change for growing a statewide and regional high-tech business sector.  The Foundation has established a multi-faceted approach to maximize economic growth, including emphasis on business infrastructure, research and development, and commercialization and workforce development.


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Media Contact: Lori Rhoades / 304-333-6814 / [email protected]