Microsoft to build $3.3 billion AI data center in Mount Pleasant

Will create 2,000 permanent jobs there ‘over time’ White House says

Microsoft will build a $3.3 billion artificial intelligence data center in Mount Pleasant and create 2,000 permanent jobs there “over time” according to an announcement this morning from the White House.

In addition, through a partnership with TitletownTech in Green Bay and the Green Bay Packers, Microsoft will establish a manufacturing focused AI Co-Innovation Lab on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the first of its kind in the United States, according to Gov. Tony Evers.

President Joe Biden will visit Racine County to announce the project today.

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Last year, Microsoft first announced plans to build a large data center on much of site in Mount Pleasant where Foxconn had planned to build a massive LCD screen manufacturing complex. Originally touted as a $10 billion project that would create 13,000 jobs, Foxconn’s development in Mount Pleasant has been far short of those plans and much of the land where it had planned to build remains vacant.

In March of 2023, Microsoft announced plans to build a $1 billion data center on a 315-acre site, which was part of the Foxconn development area. Foxconn relinquished its development rights for the site in order for it to be sold by the village to Microsoft, for $50 million. Microsoft said it expected to have 200 employees in the first phase of its Mount Pleasant data center development. The company also said that when fully developed, by 2034, the data center was expected to have 460 jobs, including 330 first-shift jobs and 130 second-shift jobs.

Then later in the year, Microsoft moved to significantly expand those plans. In November, after construction had already begun on the Microsoft data center, local officials announced that the company planned to purchase an additional 1,030 acres of land for the data center development. Details of Microsoft’s expanded plans weren’t disclosed, but village and county officials said Microsoft planned to invest “billions” of dollars over the next decade on buildings, support structures, systems and equipment. In December, Microsoft spent $176 million to buy the 1,030 acres from the village and a private landowner.

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Today’s announcement provides new details about Microsoft’s plans in Mount Pleasant.

The $3.3 billion project will create 2,300 union construction jobs, according to the White House.

“Microsoft will pair its data center investment with a commitment to investing in innovation and workforce in Racine and statewide,” the White House said in an announcement about the project this morning.

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Microsoft will partner with Gateway Technical College to develop a data center academy that will train 1,000 people for data center and STEM roles by 2030.

Microsoft’s investment of $3.3 billion will occur between now and the end of 2026, according to Gov. Tony Evers. The project will enable the company to expand its national cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure capacity.

Microsoft is also announcing the establishment of a long-term partnership to advance the state’s global leadership in AI and advanced manufacturing, Evers said.

“Microsoft will pair its data center investment with a broad investment package designed to strengthen the role of southeast Wisconsin as a hub for AI-powered economic activity, innovation, and job creation,” an announcement from Evers said. “These investments include the creation of an AI co-innovation lab, and an AI skilling initiative to equip more than 100,000 of the state’s residents with essential AI skills.”

Microsoft’s Wisconsin AI Co-Innovation Lab at UW-Milwaukee will join six other such facilities operated by Microsoft worldwide, according to Evers. Currently, only two are in the United States. The lab is expected to provide at least 60 manufacturers a year with guidance on implementing AI technology to grow their businesses.

“The lab will connect Wisconsin manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and established companies with Microsoft’s AI experts and developers to design and prototype AI and cloud solutions to improve and accelerate their work and grow their business,” the announcement from Evers said.

Microsoft will team up with the startup accelerator gener8tor to train 1,000 business leaders to adopt AI in their operations, according to the White House.

Evers said that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is providing a $500,000 grant to support capital improvements for the Co-Innovation Lab at UW-Milwaukee. WEDC is also providing a $500,000 grant to assist TitletownTech in opening a new, full-time TitletownTech-Milwaukee office within the Wisconsin AI Co-Innovation Lab to reach more entrepreneurs and start-ups.

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