“Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin color or zip code,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said in a statement

By Jason Duaine Hahn
January 13, 2021 03:02 PM
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| Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Seven months after the company announced a $100 million pledge to address racial inequality, tech giant Apple named a series of ventures meant to "dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity" and "combat injustices faced by communities of color."

The company will open a tech academy in downtown Detroit to train future developers and promote tech education, they explained in a press release published on Wednesday. The Apple Developer Academy, as it will be named, will focus on teaching "young Black entrepreneurs, creators, and coders" over the age of 18 how to build iOS apps.

There will be two programs available through the academy: a short 30-day course meant to introduce app development to students, and a more intensive 10 to 12-month program meant to further business and marketing skills.

There are no requirements to enroll, and the company expects about 1,000 students to participate a year.

The school —  developed in collaboration with Michigan State University — will open by the end of the year, and will debut as a virtual program due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin color or zip code," Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said in a statement.

"For too long, communities of color have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream, and we are proud to lend our voices and resources to build new engines of opportunity that empower, inspire, and create meaningful change," she added.

Along with the announcement, Apple said they will help launch a tech-focused hub in Atlanta for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Propel Center will offer in-person and online classes to teach technology and business and will be located at Atlanta University Center. It is being launched with the help of energy provider Southern Company, which is donating $25 million to the project along with Apple.

"We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple's enduring commitment," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in the press release, which also announced two new grants to support HBCU engineering programs.

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"We're launching [Racial Equity and Justice Initiative's] latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long," Cook continued. "We are honored to help bring this vision to bear, and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple."

Apple's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) was launched in June 2020, two weeks after the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.