Microsoft Vancouver will create 50 new jobs, education partnerships in mixed reality market

Alex Kipman Windows Mixed Reality

Microsoft has announced that an additional 50 mixed reality-related jobs will be created in British Columbia to help grow the province’s tech ecosystem.

Company president Brad Smith made the announcement at the annual Business Council of British Columbia’s Business Summit in Vancouver.

To further develop the tech industry in British Columbia, Microsoft also announced that two new education-related partnerships have been made. The first is a plan to pilot TEALS, a Microsoft Philanthropies program that supports high schools in building and growing sustainable computer science programs. This marks the first time that the TEALS pilot will expand outside of the United States.

Under the program, trained computer science professionals from across the tech industry will be paired with classroom teachers to team-teach computer science in classrooms. TEALS uses a curriculum adapted from U.C. Berkeley and the University of Washington and has worked with 500 companies to help teach 12,000 students across 348 U.S. schools.

TEALS says it’s currently deciding which school it will partner with to bring the program to the province for the 2018-2019 school year.

Microsoft’s second educational collaboration, meanwhile, will be with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Microsoft and the BCIT will work together on a “first-of-its-kind” curriculum for mixed reality, geared towards training students and developing local talent in this field.

“Vancouver is becoming a world-class hub for mixed reality and digital innovation,” said Smith in a press statement. “By continuing to partner with British Columbia’s business and education community, we’re excited to play a part in helping British Columbians enter the growing technology workforce. Students in Vancouver will become leaders in this next wave of innovation that reinvents how we work, learn and play.”

Microsoft’s initiatives follow a similar mixed reality-related announcement from earlier this month — Canada’s first-ever mixed, augmented and virtual reality space. Known as The Cube, the 6,000-square-foot, Vancouver-based facility is designed to help create new startups and grow 3D technology development in the city.

Mixed reality technology is also being used in Canada to help businesses develop new products. For example, the Port Coquitlam, BC-based Finger Food Studios has figured out how to use Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality tech to help build large trucks and other vehicles.

Canadians interested in mixed reality can also now buy Microsoft’s series of Windows Mixed Reality headsets — PC-tethered devices that offer immersive entertainment and social experiences. For more on Windows Mixed Reality, check out MobileSyrup hands-on impressions here.

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