Print Edition

  Email News Updates

Local officials, Microsoft sign agreement outlining technology company’s Syracuse objectives

By Eric Reinhardt


Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh signs a memorandum of understanding in the partnership between the City of Syracuse, Microsoft, Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool), and Onondaga County. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon (right) watches Walsh sign the document during the Thursday morning event inside the iSchool. (Photo credit: City of Syracuse Twitter page)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Top executives of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MFST) on Thursday joined with the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, and Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool) for a signing ceremony to launch Microsoft’s “expansive” partnership in Syracuse.

Microsoft representatives are visiting Syracuse this week, meeting with community stakeholders and planning for implementation of programs and services it will make available to people, nonprofits, and businesses, per a Thursday news release from the local organizations involved.

“For this new era of digital transformation to benefit us all, we need to create strong ties across government, academic institutions, and industry in support of a common vision of a digital future. The Syracuse AI Innovation Digital Alliance represents an opportunity for us to formalize a multistakeholder collaboration that will use Artificial Intelligence [AI] in responsible and trustworthy ways in order to create a smarter city and a more accessible environment for the acquisition of digital skills,” Jennifer Byrne, MSUS chief technical officer at Microsoft, said.

Microsoft plans

The memorandum of understanding outlines Microsoft’s plans to select Syracuse as home to its first Smart Cities technology hub in the Northeast.

Microsoft will also seek a location on the Southside Campus for the New Economy geared toward early-stage startups and people who want to build a company.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh discussed the Southside Campus for the New Economy in his “State of the City” address in January, but his office tells CNYBJ that specific locations and parameters on that project are still to come.

The firm will also partner with education providers and community organizations on digital literacy and workforce training.

In addition, Microsoft will sponsor public events, including an “Innovation Summit” before June 30, 2020.

The firm will also support development and research in artificial intelligence (AI) to grow “long-term” opportunities for residents and a “leading-edge” role for Syracuse in that arena. It will also support continued development of an “entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem” to help “establish [and] grow” new startups and innovation jobs.


The collaboration is “significant” to the Syracuse community because Microsoft will work with the additional partners across the region to deliver a “broad” curriculum of technology and digital-literacy programs to local nonprofits, community centers, educational institutions, employment, and workforce development organizations, and businesses.

The goal is to “more rapidly advance the Syracuse Surge, the community’s strategy of inclusive growth in the New Economy,” per the release.

The iSchool in October announced an alignment of technology initiative and economic development goals between the City, County, the iSchool, Syracuse University, and Microsoft. That followed talks with Microsoft leadership over the summer at its Redmond, Washington, headquarters, led by the iSchool and involving Mayor Ben Walsh and Onondaga County. The City and the iSchool previously have collaborated on smart data events and “Smart Cities” technology initiatives.

Contact Reinhardt at

Thank You For Visiting