Last month, Apple and Michigan State University announced a partnership to build Apple’s first U.S.-based Developer Academy, an education hub designed to empower young Black entrepreneurs, creators and developers of different experience levels. Apple launched its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color.

“Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin color or zip code,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “For too long, communities of color have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream, and we are proud to lend our voices and resources to build new engines of opportunity that empower, inspire, and create meaningful change.”

Scheduled to open in late 2021, the Developer Academy will provide learners with the skills necessary to thrive in the growing iOS app economy. Initially, the program will be held virtually, but there are future plans for a physical space in the city. Open to students 18 and up, the Apple Developer Academy will offer two technology-focused programs—an introductory program and an intensive 10- to-12-month program.

In addition to demonstrating a significant commitment to DEI initiatives, the Developer Academy is particularly critical for the SE Michigan automotive and mobility industry.

“This investment and commitment by Apple and MSU will have an impact on the City of Detroit, its citizens and on the many DEI initiatives and efforts happening throughout the community,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto. “Detroit has proven to be an environment where established companies, startups and technology thrive alongside one another, and the Developer Academy continues that tradition.”

As the auto industry advances and the lines between vehicles and technology continue to blur, greater knowledge and understanding of software, hardware and integration becomes much more valuable. The Apple Developer Academy will provide additional opportunities for training in these key areas, growing the talent base for the region. According to the MICHauto 2020 Michigan is Automobility Report, Michigan is home to the largest deployment of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology in the U.S., as well as a growing number of mobility technology startups. 

“For a region or state like ours to grow, we need the digital skills to compete,” said Stevens. “Today, almost every job within the automotive and mobility industry requires a technological component or digital understanding. Skills such as coding, animation, AI, robotics and software engineering are highly desirable – and will soon be required for many roles within product development.”

The Developer Academy also reflects MSU’s continued commitment to the City of Detroit.

“From a MSU perspective, the Developer Academy will challenge us to be a different kind of learning institution,” said Jeff Grabill, Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. “This is a recognition on the part of a global tech powerhouse that Detroit is a place where technology, entrepreneurship and creativity thrive, and MSU looks forward to helping develop the next generation of talent in the region.

For more information about the Apple Developer Academy, visit MSU’s FAQs page.