During a much-anticipated interview on CBS This Morning, Apple boss Tim Cook has announced a range of new projects as part of the company’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, a project to which it committed $100m in the summer of 2020.
Of that sum, we now know that $25m is going towards the founding of the Propel Center, a learning hub for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Apple is working in partnership with Southern Company and other stakeholders to set up this project, which will offer both a virtual learning platform – a key element under current circumstances – and a physical campus based at Atlanta University Center.
Apple employees will be involved with the Propel Center in mentorship roles, and educational focus will cover many of the areas that Apple is known for: app development, AI and machine learning, AR and design. But there will also be support for students related to career progression, entrepreneurship and more.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Apple on this extraordinary project,” said Anthony Oni, founder and chairman of the board at Ed Farm, which designed the centre. “The Propel Center will help cultivate leadership and drive innovation in tech and beyond, acting as a springboard for change in communities across America.”
Apple is also setting up two new grants for HBCU engineering programmes, and scholarships for 100 students from underrepresented communities. And a new Apple Developer Academy will open later this year in Detroit, a city with a large black community and more than 50,000 black-owned businesses.
Read Apple’s press release for full details of the announcements.
It had been made clear ahead of the interview’s airing that while a big announcement was on the way, it wouldn’t involve any new products: co-host Gayle King said it was something “bigger and better”. The initiative certainly fulfils that promise, although it’s not an entirely new announcement: Tim Cook made the initial commitment on Twitter back in June 2020, at a time of widespread protest against racial discrimination and inequality:
The unfinished work of racial justice and equality call us all to account. Things must change, and Apple’s committed to being a force for that change. Today, I’m proud to announce Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, with a $100 million commitment. pic.twitter.com/AoYafq2xlp
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook)
June 11, 2020