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Apple to Invest over $40 Million Dollars in Recruiting Talent from HBCUs... (12001 hits)

For members of HBCU, Apple may have once again laid the foundation for a promising future. This particular future doesn’t involve the revealing of the latest innovation to come out of Silicon Valley, but rather, a landmark investment in diversity recruiting. On Tuesday, the titan of technology announced it’s collaboration with The Thurgood Marshall College Fund to find and generate potential talent in the HBCU community, with the end goal of increasing the number of minorities, women and veterans in the technology industry.

Opportunities in Computer Science

This partnership comes in the form of a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment designed to bolster inclusion and innovation within the minority community. The investment comes from a non-profit partnership of multiple organizations offering a sum of $40 million directed towards HBCU students and faculty with an interest in business and technological innovation. This is a groundbreaking corporate investment, the largest of its kind to be promoted exclusively towards HBCU students and members of the minority community.

The cornerstone of this investment involves creating a database of computer science majors that can train HBCU students and teachers alike to prepare them for a future of technological innovation in Silicon Valley and beyond.

It will be interesting to see if Apple or The Thurgood Marshall College Fund bring in HBCUCONNECT.COM to help with the effort, as those of us that have been in the recruitment world have discovered that this organization clearly maintains the largest existing database of HBCU talent.

“We hope to encourage not only job seekers, but also people who want to create jobs through our entrepreneurial efforts,” Said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of The Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “We want to make sure that they have the skills; that the faculty will ultimately prepare them to compete for those roles within Apple.”

In addition, the partnership offers an inclusion of scholarships and the beginning of a paid internship program for the top students attending HBCU’s, with the goal of inspiring innovation and bringing a fresh perspective to the tech world.

The announcement was met with praise from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who remarked that Apple CEO Tim Cook had “…the vision, commitment and courage to help usher in a new era of diversity and inclusion.” During Apple’s annual shareholder meeting. “[He] understands the dynamic of change where a lot of people do not."

Apple’s partnership also includes collaboration with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) in order to allow the organization to double the amount of graduates it is able to support. In the largest donation the NCWIT has ever received, Apple pledged $10 million over a span of four years in increase inclusion of all women interested in entering the tech industry.

Investing in the Future

This outreach is remarkable in that it is not simply a cash donation – Apple has pledged it’s support for the NCWIT over the next four years in a longitudinal outreach program aimed at reaching 10,000 middle school girls during the process.

Denise Young Smith, the head of human resources for Apple, spoke on the importance of diversity and minority inclusion across the board when it comes to job opportunities, noting that diversity extends beyond race to include varying lifestyles and gender/s*xual orientation.

“Knowledge is the great equalizer and we want to invest in the best and brightest students in our HBCU schools to encourage them to pursue a career in technology or join the hundreds of thousands of app developers changing the way we all use our devices.” She said on Tuesday.

The initiative also includes a partnership with the military to provide specialized education and training programs for veterans, though there is no word yet on how much money will be pledged to this effort.

This mindset may be promising for other minority groups as well, such as members of the Asian, Latino, and LGBT communities who may yet come to receive benefits from Apple’s renewed commitment to a diverse workforce. What Apple is promising is not just a cash injection to create jobs, but rather an overarching movement towards diversity as a cornerstone for innovation. As Young Smith said, “In any of these programs we’re really trying to provide focus, impact and a ripple effect–not just on Apple.”

Apple has always been a leader of technological innovation, and with initiatives like this, they may well set the stage to become a leader in minority recruiting via philanthropic efforts.

Posted By: Lorenzo Esmoquin
Thursday, March 19th 2015 at 2:39PM
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