Special to 1812Blockhouse

Richland Community Development Group (RCDG) has announced that it will be working with Microsoft TechSpark to foster inclusive economic opportunity, job creation, and innovation in Richland County.

Technology is reshaping how people work, yet many do not have the digital skills needed to succeed in the changing workforce. Richland Community Development Group and the Mansfield-Richland Area Educational Foundation (Chamber Foundation) will develop and deliver solutions to close the digital skills gap for young people and adults.

The shared vision of RDCG, the Chamber Foundation, and the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development is to foster a Richland County network of thriving communities, businesses, and people working together collaboratively to enhance the quality of life for all. This effort will be supported by a Microsoft grant to fund a TechSpark Community Engagement Fellow, who will spearhead local efforts, working with local partners to provide inclusive digital skilling. This Fellowship represents the first time TechSpark has worked in Ohio.

Chamber Foundation Director Angie Cirone will serve as the TechSpark Community Engagement Fellow. “TechSpark is a win for Richland County,” Cirone said. “The training we develop will allow young people and adults to gain the digital skills and AI fluency they need to be competitive in local workplaces that are increasingly driven by technology.”

“This is exciting news for RCDG and the Chamber Foundation to receive this grant and represent the entire state of Ohio,” said Representative Marilyn John, Ohio’s 76th House District. “This opportunity speaks volumes to their hard work and investment in our community.”

“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 Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development, Richland Community Development Group, and Mansfield-Richland Area Educational Foundation work together to champion community excellence, cultivate quality talent, and foster economic strength. Learn more about the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development’s workforce initiatives here

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