Apple steps up push for diversity with historically Black colleges and universities partnership


Apple Historically Black Universities 1
Apple is working hard to promote diversity in tech.
Photo: Apple

Apple is deepening its connection with historically Black colleges and universities to create “community hubs for coding and creativity.”

Under the heading of Apple’s Community Education Initiative, the partnership with an addition 10 learning institutes will allow Apple to expand its coding initiative — while also helping widen participation in tech.

“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. “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.”

Apple and historically Black colleges and universities

Apple launched its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative last month. The goal is to help tackle systemic barrier for communities of color. It seeks to do this by promoting education, economic equality, and criminal justice reform efforts.

Even before this, Apple has been working closely with historically Black colleges and universities. Its Community Education Initiative covers 24 locations across the United States. Twelve of these are historically Black institutions. A total of 21 predominately serve majority Black and brown students. These partnerships offer Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curricula to students.

Apple’s press release on the announcement quotes Robbie Melton, Tennessee State University’s associate vice president of the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and dean of graduate and professional studies.

“In two years, I want all HBCUs to be coding and creating,” said Melton. “In two years, you’re going to see many more people of color entering the STEM workforce — and in two years we’re going to double the number of Black women in technology through this program.”

Promoting diversity in tech

Under CEO Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple has worked to address diversity issues in tech. These include gaps in gender and ethnicity that do not reflect America as a whole. Apple’s hiring practices are committed to finding good candidates from a wide range of backgrounds.

However, Apple likely sees that the problem goes beyond the current talent pool. To ensure that tech’s future is diverse, it’s not enough to find talent among those currently working in the industry. It is also essential to support people in education, who may go on to become tomorrow’s engineers and executives.

Hopefully steps like this can help promote that positive change.