Apple to open Detroit developer school as part of racial equality initiative

No previous experience is needed for the free Apple classes, which are with Michigan State University.

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Tech giant Apple has chosen Detroit as the site of its first U.S. Apple Developer Academy, designed to support coding and tech education as part of its racial equity initiatives. 

The courses — which will be free to all, and no previous experience is required — are slated to be offered in collaboration with Michigan State University. The program is open to all Michigan residents and expects to serve at least 1,000 students per year. 

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, is shown in July testifying remotely during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power. (Photo by Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images)

The academy will feature two programs. The first is a 30-day introduction to understanding what it means to be an app developer. The second, a full academy, will contain 10 to 12 months of intense study that will teach the skills necessary to create iOS apps, as well as sound entrepreneurship. 

The curriculum will cover coding, design, professional skills and marketing. 

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“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in a statement.

The company made a $100 million commitment to its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, what it calls REJI for short. For REJI, Apple “partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long,” Cook said. 

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“We are honored to help bring this vision to bear,” he maintained, “and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple.”

Detroit’s population is more than 84 percent Black. More than 30 percent of its residents live below the poverty line, making it the second most impoverished city in America. 

The Detroit News notes that as the site of the first Apple Developer Academy on these shores, the city has an opportunity to change its long-standing reputation as a manufacturing hub to one that can support a growing tech industry. 

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“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment,” Cook said. 

“Apple is the perfect partner for us to help educate and prepare a diverse generation of coders, tech leaders and entrepreneurs, and Detroit — Michigan’s innovative technology and premier urban hub — is the right location for this academy,” MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. told The Detroit News. “There is tremendous potential for this project moving forward, and we’re excited to get started.”

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