The historic Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was formerly known as Black Wall Street is being restored with the help of Black Tech Street and Microsoft — but it will look a bit different.
The coalition, dubbed “the Digital Transformation of Black Wall Street” by Black Tech Street, seeks to reestablish Greenwood as a primary center for Black talent and innovation. According to a press release, by ensuring Black tech-focused economic and industry development prospects for the Greenwood community, Black Tech Street aims to revitalize Black Wall Street as a Black innovation economy.
“Since its inception, Black Tech Street’s focus has been on securing transformative partnerships capable of addressing deeply-rooted economic inequities stemming from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre at scale,” said Tyrance Billingsley II, the organization’s founder and executive director. “Our partnership with Microsoft is a perfect example of such an opportunity and reflects the very essence of both our organizations.”
In the initial stage of this partnership, the two entities will make a series of community- and Microsoft-supported investments to improve the ecosystem in Tulsa’s ability to develop, recruit and sustain Black cyber talent.
Black Tech Street aims to produce and hire 1,000 Black Tulsans in the cyber and related industries by 2030, utilizing Microsoft’s programmatic support and resources, in conjunction with other national partners to reach that goal.
Microsoft has prioritized investing in the cybersecurity workforce to fill North America’s anticipated 1.6 million-person shortage of cyber professionals. To help it achieve its objective, Black Tech Street will take advantage of its partnership with Microsoft in workforce and skill building, education and digital access, plus innovation research and thought leadership.
Ann Johnson, corporate vice president for security business development at Microsoft, said the company “believes digital inclusion is core to ensuring everyone on the planet benefits from advances in technology, and that programming and opportunities must be created for those with the potential to be left behind.”
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he’s excited about the Microsoft and Black Tech Street alliance, which will help increase cyber talent and promote tech education and workforce readiness for talent residing in the area.
“We are grateful for Microsoft’s support and engagement,” Billingsley said. He added that the tech giant’s role is a game changer for the Greenwood community, “and sends a clear message that Black Wall Street will continue to be a national leader of Black innovation in the 21st century.”
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