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Apple is expanding its coding partnership to include 10 more Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to increase diversity in the tech industry.
The new locations will become regional coding centers that introduce students and the broader communities to coding and app design. This expands Apple’s Community Education Initiative to 24 locations across the US, 12 of which are HBCUs.
Morehouse College in Georgia, Prairie View A&M University in Texas, and Fisk University in Tennessee are all part of the group chosen. According to a statement from Apple, the company expects to double the number of HBCU partners by the end of this summer.
This move is part of a larger $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Apple announced, last month following the death of George Floyd, to give more students of color paths to higher-paying tech jobs.
”Apple is committed to working alongside communities of color to advance educational equity,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives said in a statement. “We see this expansion of our Community Education Initiative and partnership with HBCUs as another step toward helping Black students realize their dreams and solve the problems of tomorrow.”
Later this month, educators from the 10 HBCUs will take part in a virtual Community Education Initiative Coding Academy hosted by Apple to learn the building blocks of coding with Apple’s coding language, Swift.
Many tech companies are clambering to diversify their workforce amidst a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
Despite Blacks making up roughly 13% of the US’s population, they make up 9% of Apple’s workforce.
And the numbers aren’t better at other prominent tech companies like Google and Microsoft.
According to Microsoft’s 2019 diversity report, 4.4% of its workers were Black –a 0.4% increase from the year prior. And the most recent figures of Google’s workforce show Blacks make up a mere 3.7% of Google’s workforce.
And Apple’s CEO Tim Cook acknowledged last month that his company must do more to fight racism and address diversity concerns within its own company in a memo obtained by Bloomberg.
“At Apple, our mission has and always will be to create technology that empowers people to change the world for the better,” Cook wrote. “With every breath we take, we must commit to being that change, and to creating a better, more just world for everyone.”