Microsoft TechSpark Program Expands to Louisiana

Names NOLAvate Black's Sabrina Short a TechSpark Fellow

New Orleans Agenda

NEW ORLEANS (July 20. 2023) – Microsoft announced today that it will be expanding its TechSpark Program nationwide to foster inclusive economic opportunity, job creation, and innovation in the Greater New Orleans Region naming Sabrina Short TechSpark Fellow in the State of Louisiana.

“With only 8 percent of Black people in the technology industry and only 1% in executive and c-suite positions, there must be strategic collaboration among stakeholders in the ecosystem to get untapped BIPOC talent trained, but also provide the resources and support to get them hired. I am excited to spearhead local efforts and build on the great work that is already being done in New Orleans.” Sabrina Short, Microsoft TechSpark Fellow.

Sabrina Short is the Founder and CEO of NOLAvate Black, a talent sourcing and recruitment company that connects underrepresented technology talent to companies committed to building inclusive teams. The organization is most known for its Annual Conference Black Tech NOLA, which has convened technologists in the city for 5 years.

NOLAvate Black conducted a Tech Talent Survey in partnership with GNO, Inc. and Lucid (now Cint) in 2021 to understand the needs of underrepresented talent exploring technology careers. The survey results emphasized the need for affordable job training, career coaching, access to entry level jobs and mentorship. In response to the survey, industry leaders from across the country organized the Inclusive Tech South Foundation (ITSF), a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization focused on offering solutions to promote employability, retention, and advancement for Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the technology sector.

ITSF will launch the Explore Tech Talent Accelerator later this year supported by a Microsoft grant to provide digital skilling and career coaching to BIPOC job seekers.

“We are honored to be selected by Microsoft and will work together with them to advance a transforming technology culture and economy in the region. New Orleans is a thriving hub for technology and innovation. We will continue to position under-resourced communities in pathways that support job growth in the city and surrounding areas.” -Ruby Smith Love, ITSF Board Member. This Fellowship represents the first time TechSpark has worked in Louisiana.

“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.

If you have questions about TechSpark in Louisiana contact