The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub Selected as Part of Microsoft’s National TechSpark Program to Grow Economic Opportunity in Arkansas

The Innovation Hub and Microsoft to work together to ensure regional growth of the Hub’s workforce development program, Skills to Launch, and its Information Technology training track.

North Little Rock, Ark. – The Innovation Hub will be working with Microsoft TechSpark to foster inclusive economic opportunity, job creation, and innovation in Arkansas. The Hub staff is looking forward to helping Arkansas increase the number of skilled laborers across several industries.  

The Innovation Hub is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Arkansans by inspiring innovation and expanding opportunities. Since the Hub’s opening in 2014, its state-of-the-art facilities have provided tools and training to entrepreneurs, students, and other makers, preparing them to join and grow Arkansas’ economic ecosystem. The Hub is excited to collaborate with Microsoft and be a part of the inaugural TechSpark Community Engagement Fellow program which will support the Hub’s Skills to Launch program. The Hub will spearhead local efforts, working with local partners to grow its workforce development program, which is a 10-week hands-on program, designed to provide skills training to individuals, 18 and older, in a variety of interesting trades, such as information technology, industrial maintenance, solar panel installation, construction, production welding, HVAC, and more. The funds will go directly to support the IT training track and its participating students. This Fellowship represents the first time TechSpark has worked in the State of Arkansas. 

Errin Stanger, Innovation Hub’s Director, said, “The Skills to Launch program was created to give individuals an opportunity to enhance their technical and soft skills training to successfully join Arkansas’ workforce. After seven completed cohorts, we have an 85% job placement rate and have graduated 111 students. We are thrilled to be included in this Microsoft program, and we know this will elevate Arkansas and help us continue to grow workforce development in critical industries throughout the state.” 

“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

To learn more about the Hub’s Skills to Launch program, visit