Apple has announced a set of major new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color.
These efforts include the Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); an Apple Developer Academy to support coding and tech education for students in Detroit; and venture capital funding for Black and Brown entrepreneurs.
“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 Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.
“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 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.”
Last June, Apple announced REJI in the wake of protests around the world following the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others.
The initiative aims to build on Apple’s work to advance racial equity in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system, and is led by Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson. REJI complements Apple’s internal efforts to improve diversity and inclusion at every level of the company.
“Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin color or zip code,” said Jackson. “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.”
Later this year, Apple will open an Apple Developer Academy in Detroit — the first of its kind in the US. Detroit has a vibrant Black entrepreneur and developer community, with over 50,000 Black-owned businesses, according to US Census data.
The academy is designed to empower young Black entrepreneurs, creators, and coders, helping them cultivate the skills necessary for jobs in the rapidly growing iOS app economy. Launched in collaboration with Michigan State University, Apple Developer Academy courses will be open to all learners across Detroit, regardless of their academic background or whether they have any previous coding experience.
The Apple Developer Academy will offer two programs in Detroit. A 30-day introductory program is designed for learners who are considering app economy careers and looking to better understand what it means to be a developer.
The full academy program is an intensive 10- to 12-month program that will help aspiring developers build the skills needed to participate in the iOS app economy, and even start their own businesses. Apple expects the academy’s programming to reach close to 1,000 students each year with a curriculum that covers coding, design, marketing, and professional skills.
And next month, Apple will host the inaugural cohort of its Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers for a virtual experience, offering one-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers, as well as mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders.
-Good Black News