Microsoft plans to expand its Vancouver, B.C., office, partner with the British Columbia Institute of Technology to create mixed reality courses, and bring its TEALS program to Vancouver.
Microsoft is continuing its push to build actual and virtual technology ties with its neighbors to the North, announcing several initiatives Wednesday in Vancouver, B.C.
Fifty new engineering and design workers will be hired in the company’s downtown Vancouver office, adding to the 800 employees that already work in the city, Microsoft President Brad Smith said at the annual meeting of the Business Council of British Columbia.
Those jobs will center on “mixed reality,” or augmented and virtual reality technology. Microsoft’s best-known effort in that space is the HoloLens system, which it will begin selling in 29 more countries as of Wednesday.
“Vancouver is becoming a world-class hub for mixed reality and digital innovation,” Smith said Thursday in Vancouver.
In the education realm, the company will partner with the British Columbia Institute of Technology to create mixed reality courses.
Microsoft also has picked Vancouver to mark its first international expansion of the TEALS program, which pairs computer scientists with high school teachers to bring coding education to schools. TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) currently serves 348 schools across the U.S., including 86 in Washington state.
Microsoft and several other big tech companies have been pouring resources into bringing computer science classes to schools and retraining programs, initiatives the companies say will help prepare students and workers for the realities of future careers. Learning to code, they say, is becoming an essential skill, especially as jobs across industries require the knowledge.
These programs also help Microsoft and others train new potential employees for their workforces, which are constantly seeking workers with up-to-date technology skills.
Microsoft has been working to strengthen its ties to Vancouver technology counterparts as part of last year’s revival of the cross-border Cascadia Innovation Corridor.