Apple Announces Detroit Developer Academy and Global HBCU Innovation Campus
Last summer, Apple announced its US$100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) and on Tuesday night in Cupertino, the company unveiled further details of how its pledge to help "advance racial equity in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system" and "help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of colour" will roll out in the foreseeable future
"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," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. "We’re launching REJI’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. We are honoured 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."
The multi-pronged initiative will include:
- The Propel Center: Apple is working with Southern Company and will contribute US$25 million in support of the new Propel Center, a state-of-the-art 50,000 sq ft global hub for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) collaboration, innovation, and education. "The Propel Center will offer a wide range of educational tracks, including AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, career preparation, and entrepreneurship," according to the announcement. Experts from Apple will be involved in ongoing mentorship programs, curriculum development, support, and internship opportunities.
- An Apple Developer Academy in downtown Detroit: The first Apple Developer Academy will open in downtown Detroit, one of the United States' most impoverished urban areas, later this year. The academy will be open to anyone from the Detroit community, offering two pathways for enrolment: a 30-day introductory app developer program and a 10- to 12-month intensive designed for aspiring developers and entrepreneurs. The academy will teach coding, design, marketing, as well as other skills required to launch and thrive in the iOS app world.
- Venture capital funding: The company also announced two new investment projects that will provide funding to minority-owned businesses: US$10 million invested with Harlem Capital in New York to support diverse founders over the next two decades; and US$25 million invested with Siebert Williams Shank's Clear Vision Impact Fund.
- Donation to The King Center: Apple has made a contribution to The King Center, which was founded in memory of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and is chaired by his daughter, Dr Bernice A King.
The REJI is led by Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, police, and social initiatives.
"Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin color or zip code," Jackson 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."