Apple Increases Effort to Connect with HBCUs with New Regional Coding HUB Program
Posted By: Will Moss on August 06, 2020 |
At a time when whole industries have shifted online in response to the coronavirus, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are deepening their coding education through a partnership with Apple. The tech giant recently expanded ties with HBCUs as a part of its Community Education Initiative, launched last year.
Apple will support an additional 10 HBCUs, now 35 in total, to develop coding programs for both their students and their surrounding communities with the goal to create “regional hubs” for coding education. To participate, Apple selected Morehouse College, Dillard University, Claflin University, Lawson State Community College, Arkansas Baptist College, Central State University, Fisk University, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University and Tougaloo College.
“Apple is committed to working alongside communities of color to advance educational equity,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, 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.”
The Apple initiative is one of a few overtures made by major companies to HBCUs this summer amid national protests against police **** and racial inequality.
Amazon, for example, made donations to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in June, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings promised $40 million to Morehouse College, $40 million to Spelman College and $40 million to UNCF. Meanwhile, Zoom and Claflin University entered a five-year partnership that will offer paid internships and scholarships for students and curriculum guidance for the university.
Apple is giving new equipment to partner schools and it’s training HBCU faculty to teach coding and app design, with the help of instructors from Tennessee State University. For the past two years, Apple has been working alongside Tennessee State University’s HBCU C2 initiative, which aims to foster coding education at HBCUs. The university – whose leadership originally approached Apple about working with HBCUs – will now serve as the national hub connecting schools within the partnership.
As a part of the initiative, Tennessee State University will continue helping HBCUs create and build on existing coding programs and develop apps that address community needs. For example, one school now has an app for finding food pantries in the area. The hope is to empower not just HBCU students but the communities around them to learn coding “from preschool to senior citizen,” said Dr. Robbie Melton, associate vice president of the SMART Technology Innovation Center and graduate dean at Tennessee State University.
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