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Apple initiaties partnership with HBCUs to create new coding curriculum and community outreach

Posted December 11, 2020 6:05 p.m. EST

A new initiative by Apple brings computer coding to many historically black colleges and universities across the country. It includes Shaw and St. Augustine’s universities in Raleigh.

Maria Lumpkin, interim president at St. Aug’s, says their students are very familiar with using computer apps but not writing the codes that make them work. "Coding is a language of its own and when you are able to code, you can write your own ticket," said Lumpkin.

Debra Clark Jones’ job as a vice president at St. Augustine’s includes promoting technology education. She says the average salary for a computing job in North Carolina is $92,000. That pay is significantly higher than the average salary of $47,000. Plus, she says, the field has a great demand for people trained in writing computer code.

St. Aug’s, Shaw and other HBCUs collaborate with both Apple and Tennessee State University where professors are trained, so they can teach students.

Lynette Wood, Shaw’s dean of business and professional studies said, "We want our students to be prepared so that they can become competitive when they’re leaving Shaw, and also so that we can attract students to Shaw."

The universities also will serve as Community Centers for Coding and Creativity, the program’s community outreach component.

"We are obligated to give 20 hours of programming and workshops and computer camps to those in the community," explained St. Augustine’s Jones.

Jones added that in the past, computer science careers have been dominated by males. She said, "The fact that only 25% of bachelor degrees in computer science are going to females, we really want to see what we can do to impact those numbers."

School leaders say it is a valuable opportunity to prepare their students for a high tech future. "We want to be cutting edge. That’s very, very important. We don’t want to be left behind in anything," said Shaw University’s Wood.

The computer code language training is based on Apple’s own curriculum called “Everyone can code and everyone can create." Apple provides the equipment along with their own coding language called “Swift” which is designed for easier learning.

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