In the latest stride toward putting Houston on the frontier of technological innovation, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the city is the first in the nation to form an alliance with tech giant Microsoft.

“On a long-term basis, Microsoft will up Houston’s technology game, starting at the grassroots,” Turner said.

Turner and Microsoft executives outlined the alliance strategy at a news conference. An official agreement with the city calls for Microsoft to:

  • Support the promotion and establishment of initiatives that focus on STEM education and economic development for the city and its local government and non-profit partners in the area.
  • Conduct events under the “YouthSpark LIVE” banner on how young Houstonians can use technology to further their career goals.
  • Provide digital course work and other educational materials to academic institutions, their staffs and students through its Imagine Academy program.
  • “Adopt” one or more middle schools or high schools as tech advancement laboratories in some of the five neighborhoods that form the mayor’s Complete Communities initiative.
  • Provide free software and support to start-up businesses under a program called BizSpark.
  • Conduct DigiGirlz camps giving high school girls the opportunity to learn about careers in technology.
  • Host computer skill improvement classes for parents, veterans and people transitioning between careers.
  • Provide a digital platform for the “Houston Still Needs You” program that documents the hours of work by volunteers aiding in long-term recovery efforts related to Hurricane Harvey.
  • Assist the city in finding technological solutions to other challenges.