Microsoft LEAP for WNBPA to offer paid, 16-week integrated offseason apprenticeships featuring technology training, professional development and career networking

NEW YORK, NY and REDMOND, WA, SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 – The Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) and the Global Talent Innovation Team at Microsoft Corp. announced today a unique partnership, the first of its kind for the Players Association. The partnership, Microsoft LEAP for WNBPA, is an immersive off-season technology readiness program that will launch at the conclusion of the 2019 WNBA season. It is aimed at empowering WNBA Players to realize their potential and value beyond basketball. 

LEAP Engineering Acceleration Program (LEAP) will offer participating members of the WNBPA with professional development and experiences across a variety of areas that make up the multinational tech company. The paid apprenticeship program is comprehensive and specifically designed with the professional athlete in mind. Four weeks of in-class meetings on Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, Washington, are followed by 12 weeks of on-the-job training on the main campus or at other Microsoft locations. 

“We are delighted to collaborate with Microsoft in our efforts to further opportunities for Players to gain practical experience as they explore future careers beyond basketball,” said Terri Jackson, WNBPA Executive Director. 

“By working together to develop an immersive offseason program that is both applied and aspirational and built around Microsoft’s world-class technology, we are excited to accelerate the future success for professional athletes,” said Priya Priyadarshini, Senior Director on the Global Early Career team at Microsoft.

As part of the apprenticeship program, participating players will:

  • Learn and apply Microsoft technology
  • Build their professional skill sets
  • Establish critical connections across business, technology, and engineering

Following the training sessions, participants will have further opportunities to apply their experience in pursuit of future careers in areas such as finance, human resources, marketing, sales, business management and customer service, among others. 

“WNBA Players are accomplished, highly successful individuals and they are more than basketball,” said Jackson. “Microsoft LEAP for WNBPA will facilitate the union’s goal to assist Players – both active and those preparing for retirement- with opportunities designed to help them build a next career.”

“As Microsoft‘s mission states, our commitment of global empowerment is for every person and every organization to achieve more,” said Priyadarshini. “We’re pleased to form the partnership with WNBPA to provide a unique opportunity for WNBA Players to achieve more. Sportsmanship is about grit, perseverance, and team collaboration – all of which  is integral to the success of any professional. We look forward to welcoming WNBA Players to Microsoft LEAP for WNBPA.” 

About Microsoft:
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About the Women’s National Basketball Players Association:
The Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) is the union for current women’s professional basketball players in the WNBA. The WNBPA is the first labor union for professional women athletes. It was created in 1998 to protect the rights of players and assist them in achieving their full potential on and off the court. The WNBPA handles the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, filing grievances on their behalf, and counseling players on benefits and post-WNBA career opportunities. The WNBPA also serves as a resource for current players, while they are competing internationally during the offseason. The WNBPA encourages players to participate in union activities – including executive leadership roles, team representative positions, and global community outreach initiatives.

Microsoft Media Relations

(212) 655-0880


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