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Microsoft Invests in AI Datacenter, Higher Ed Partnerships in Wisconsin

Microsoft is investing more than $3 billion in a new AI and cloud datacenter in southeast Wisconsin, an initiative paired with two higher education partnerships aimed at fostering workforce training. 

The plan is expected to create 2,300 union construction jobs by 2025 and numerous long-term tech employment opportunities thereafter. The facility will support advanced cloud services and AI applications for companies nationwide.

"Wisconsin has a rich and storied legacy of innovation and ingenuity in manufacturing," said Microsoft President Brad Smith. "We will use the power of AI to help advance the next generation of manufacturing companies, skills and jobs in Wisconsin and across the country. This is what a big company can do to build a strong foundation for every medium, small and start-up company and non-profit everywhere."

Along with the creation of the new datacenter, Microsoft will partner with Gateway Technical College in the creation of a new academy focused on datacenter technology. The company said this will help to train more than 1,000 students over the next five years to fill the growing number of tech-related jobs in the area.

Microsoft announced it will also be partnering with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to set up a manufacturing-centric AI Co-Innovation Lab. The lab is aimed at connecting Wisconsin manufacturers and various businesses with Microsoft's AI specialists and developers. Together, they will collaborate on designing and prototyping AI and cloud solutions that enhance operational efficiencies and business growth. The goal is for the lab to assist 270 Wisconsin companies by 2030, with a focus on 135 manufacturing firms.

Finally, the company's $3.3 billion investment will also be used to partner with energy firm National Grid to construct a new 250-megawatt solar project that will be operational by 2027 and will contribute $20 million to a community fund to assist under-resourced areas. It also said that the new datacenter will use a closed-loop water system that will recycle the water used for cooling.

The White House is touting the Microsoft investment as a success for both its push to grow national infrastructure and its ambitions to position the U.S. as an AI leader. "As part of Microsoft's efforts to build an AI ecosystem in Wisconsin, their training programs will help introduce workers to AI skills and technologies, helping them access and benefit from the AI economy," said the White House in a press release.

For more information, read the Microsoft post here.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.

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