Morehouse College on Thursday was named one of 10 new regional hubs for coding and creativity as part of Apple’s Community Education Initiative, a partnership that is increasing tech training and certification opportunities at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their surrounding communities.
Morehouse follows Tennessee State University (TSU) and its HBCU C2 (coding and creativity) pilot program into the Apple Community Initiative partnership expansion. Morehouse will be provided with Apple equipment and professional development training to help the AUC institution become the pre-eminent regional HBCU C2 hub to bring coding and creativity to metro Atlanta.
“We are excited to be partnering with Apple as a new hub in this important coding initiative at HBCUs,” said David A. Thomas, president of Morehouse College. “This partnership will help Morehouse grow its profile as a leader in tech training, and create opportunities for minorities to develop new coding skills that could bring them lucrative jobs.
“Blacks make up only about 8 percent of computer and math workers. Programs like HBCU C2 are needed to create a pipeline of skilled workers of color in tech to address workplace disparities,” he asked.
Later this month, Morehouse faculty leaders will participate in Apple’s virtual Community Education Initiative Coding Academy to learn more about coding and app development. The session will use Apple’s comprehensive curriculum, which includes its easy-to-learn Swift programming language.
The tech academy will be the second Apple coding training at Morehouse since January 2020. Apple and TSU’s HBCU C2 initiative partnered with Morehouse last winter to co-host a regional coding academy for HBCU faculty members and scholars wanting to learn how to develop apps and create code.
Sixty people attended the event, including 38 Morehouse professors and students. Participants also learned the Swift programming language.
Now that Morehouse has its own HBCU C2 site, the College will eventually host similar training sessions to provide continuing education opportunities for residents of Atlanta and its Southwest corridor, one of the city’s most economically challenged Black communities.
The unemployment rate in Atlanta is more than 10 percent, and skills in coding and app creation could bring new job opportunities. Four of the top five occupations on Glassdoor’s “Best Jobs in America in 2020” list are tech jobs, with salaries ranging from nearly $84,000 to $107,000.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for us to engage our larger community in the West End,” said Morehouse Provost Michael E. Hodge, Ph.D. “Our students will benefit from this, as well. They will have a close encounter with coding and app development, which will enable them to bring their schooling into a real-world application that is 21st-Century.”
Nine other HBCUs joined Morehouse in being named new hubs for coding and creativity with Apple’s Community Education Initiative. They include Arkansas Baptist College, Central State University, Claflin University, Dillard University, Fisk University, Lawson State Community College, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University at Shreveport, and Tougaloo College.
The Morehouse HBCU C2 Apple Community Education Initiative partnership will complement existing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) opportunities at Morehouse.
In 2019, Morehouse became the first HBCU to offer a new undergraduate software engineering degree program. Sixteen students are currently pursuing their degrees in that major. The first program graduates are scheduled to earn their degrees in May 2021.