Apple has announced a suite of initiatives as part of the company’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
To “expand opportunities for communities of color,” the tech giant has partnered with Southern Company, a gas and electric utility company, and will invest $25 million to launch an “innovation and learning hub” to help support HBCUs. The company will also invest in a developer academy in Detroit to support students learning to code and provide venture capital funding for Black and Brown entrepreneurs.
Propel Center, the new innovation and learning hub, will have a physical campus in Atlanta along with online classes specifically designed for historically Black institutions. Classes will focus on AI and machine learning, entrepreneurship, computer programming, social justice, and entertainment arts.
Led by Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, REJI was announced last year following the Black Lives Matter protests around the world.
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Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said the company is proud to be working with teachers, students, developers, and entrepreneurs “to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long.”
As part of its ongoing collaboration with HBCUs, Apple is also establishing two new Innovation Grants that will help HBCUs to work with the company’s experts to develop their engineering curriculum.
The company also announced that it will offer scholarships, mentorship, and career development opportunities to 100 scholars from underrepresented communities as part of its scholarship program with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
To venture a step further in supporting racial equality in education and the economy, Cook announced last year that Apple will be recruiting more employees from underrepresented groups to create diversity.
Apple also announced the Launch@Apple program last month, as a part of REJI. Designed for first-generation freshmen and sophomores in fields such as business, economics, and mathematics, the program matches students with mentors who can provide opportunities for career enrichment outside the university.