Apple awards $5 million to historically Black colleges to train future engineers

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Alabama A&M University
The Carnegie Library on the campus of Alabama A&M University.
Photo: Chris Pruitt/Wikipedia CC

Apple has awarded $5 million in “Innovation Grants” to four historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States. Alabama A&M University, Howard University, Morgan State University, and Prairie View A&M University will all receive funds from Apple as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.

The money, given over three years, will be used to help prep students for future careers in both hardware technology and silicon chip design. In other words, while there’s no guarantee of this, Apple could be helping provide the training that will up-skill future Cupertino employees. If that pays off, it’s a great investment on Apple’s part, as well as being a positive social contribution.

“The HBCU community is home to incredible Black talent and we are thrilled to work alongside these universities to enhance the opportunities for their students,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social Initiatives in a statement. “We know many jobs of the future will be in innovative areas like silicon engineering and we want to help ensure the leaders of tomorrow have access to transformational learning opportunities.”

Supporting diversity in tech

Apple’s not just giving money, however. It will also provide students with a chance to interface with some of its engineers so that students can benefit from “their knowledge, experience, and mentorship.” (In the words of John M. M. Anderson, dean of Howard University’s College of Engineering and Architecture.)

Apple has long supported social initiatives around supporting diversity in tech. Apple CEO Tim Cook has frequently spoken out about racism. In a recent letter, titled “Speaking up on racism,” Cook implored people to “stand together” against the “deeply rooted racism” in the United States.

Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative will support the launch of a new global innovation and learning hub for historically Black colleges and universities. It is also opening its first U.S. Developer Academy to support coding efforts in Detroit. And it is contributing venture funding for Black and other minority entrepreneurs.

Source: New York Times