Microsoft Selects AccelerateMT to Grow Economic Opportunity in Montana

MISSOULA – Accelerate Montana announced a partnership today with Microsoft TechSpark to foster regional digital inclusion, job creation and technological innovation in the Treasure State.

Accelerate Montana, the University of Montana’s economic and workforce development partner, will use a new grant with Microsoft TechSpark to bridge the digital divide and ensure that all Montanans have equal access to digital resources and opportunities.

"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 of 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, train 55,000 people and create 3,300 jobs.

The grant provided to Accelerate Montana will fund a TechSpark Community Engagement Fellow, who will spearhead local efforts by working with local partners. This fellowship represents the first time TechSpark has worked in Montana.

“I am so excited to be a part of the TechSpark Fellows Program,” said Ticia Cliff, Accelerate Montana’s TechSpark Fellow. “This will be a great opportunity not only to build more tech career pathways for our rural and indigenous communities, but also to share the incredible training programs already underway in Montana.”

By empowering individuals, businesses and communities with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive in the digital age, Accelerate Montana and Microsoft TechSpark are shaping a brighter and more inclusive future for Montana.

“The TechSpark Fellowship will further Accelerate Montana’s objective of expanding access across the state to the training and skills needed for good paying in-demand jobs,” said Paul Gladen, executive director of Accelerate Montana. “We are extremely grateful to Microsoft for this opportunity.”


Contact: Mercedes Bawden, marketing coordinator, AccelerateMT, 406-594-5101,