Apple welcomed 100 students, aged 18 to 60, to its first Developer Academy this week, located in Detroit. The academy offers students courses on coding, design, marketing and project management.
It’s “an effort to address systemic racism and expand opportunities for communities of color across the country,” the Cupertino tech giant said Thursday.
Launched in tandem with Michigan State University (MSU), the effort is part of Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.
Apple called the academy its “first in the U.S.,” which implies more may come). It said the program will help prepare students for jobs in the “thriving iOS app economy.” And that economy supports over 2.1 million jobs across all 50 states, the company said.
Developer Academy: First of its kind in the U.S.
Apple called the academy the first of its kind in the country.
“We believe apps for everyone should be designed by everyone. All aspiring developers and entrepreneurs should have the opportunity to be a part of the thriving app economy,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, said in a statement.
“Detroit has an incredible entrepreneurial spirit, powered by creativity and inclusion. We’re thrilled to welcome this inaugural class of creators as we start classes at the Apple Developer Academy, the first of its kind in the U.S.,” she added.
The students in Detroit will spend 10 months learning app development and entrepreneurial skills. The curriculum is “designed to ensure graduates have the full suite of skills to find and create jobs in the iOS app economy,” Apple said.
No previous coding experience is required for enrollment, which is free.
The Apple Developer Academy is located in a custom-designed space in downtown Detroit’s First National Building. Students will work in an environment created to facilitate collaboration and engagement, Apple said.
Funding and growth
The Gilbert Family Foundation and Rocket Companies provided a gift to MSU in support of the academy. The foundation said it will continue to contribute support as it grows.
Earlier this year, the academy hosted a smaller cohort of community partners for a four-week “Foundation” course. It introduced the basic concepts of coding. Apple said it expects the academy to eventually teach nearly a thousand students each year through Foundation and Academy programs.
“Our goal is to create new pathways and new opportunities for a diverse group of 21st-century tech leaders. We’re proud to be working with Apple to bring this vision to life,” said Sarah Gretter, MSU’s lead of the Detroit Apple Developer Academy. “I’m inspired by our first class of students, and can’t wait to see where this journey takes them — whether it’s starting a new business, creating a new app or developing marketable new skills.”