One of Apple’s more egalitarian initiatives has been its efforts to promote and improve technology education, particularly for aspiring app developers. Tim Cook has called coding “an essential skill” and Apple’s Everyone Can Code program provides resources that the company promises to “let anyone learn, write, and teach code.”
In working toward its goals to improve coding education, Apple has developed new user-friendly programming languages such as Swift, created educational apps like Swift Playgrounds for first-time coders, run a whole range of workshops in its Apple Stores, and promoted coding curriculum in schools, even volunteering its employees to tutor and teach classes in disadvantaged areas.
Now Apple has announced a new partnership with the Oakland-based non-profit organization Dream Corps to help provide new opportunities for young adults to find careers in the technology sector. Apple will be joining Dream Corps’ already-successful #YesWeCode initiative, which has the goal of helping “100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector.”
The #YesWeCode program has already graduated four coding cohorts and has a job placement rate of over 60 percent. Apple plans to bolster the program by contributing its own expertise and resources to increase the impact and range of the initiative, making it available to more young people and expanding it across the nation.
Specifically, Apple will provide technology and curriculum materials along with professional support, guidance, and advocacy to students from middle schools all the way through to college and beyond. Naturally, the emphasis will be on coding in Swift, but the plan is to expose participants to other skills and tools that will help improve their career prospects as well.
In a separate news release, Apple highlights one particular success story from Dream Corps, former U.S. Marine Gerald Ingraham, who found himself adrift after leaving the Marine Corps, moving between unfulfilling administration and construction jobs and facing financial struggles when his eldest son was diagnosed with brain cancer. Ingraham found an online video that encouraged him that nobody is ever too old to learn to code, and persevered through an unsuccessful struggle with numerous online tutorials before discovering Dream Corps’ #YesWeCode program. A year after completing the program, Ingraham landed a job as a software developer at a video game company.
I see Dream Corps as a peace corps for the American Dream. It’s about making sure that we can help support people who lived or grew up in communities like mine. And this partnership with Apple will help unlock the untapped genius and talent within those communities, which will allow a new generation to achieve their dreams.Dream Corps CEO Vien Truong
Dream Corps CEO Vien Truong, who was the youngest daughter of a large Vietnamese immigrant family, joined Dream Corps in 2015 in the hopes of making a difference for people who grew up in communities like hers. Truong is hoping that the resources that Apple will bring to the table can help even more young people achieve their dreams.
The coding programming partnership between Apple and Dream Corps is expected to launch later this year in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Dream Corps is working with the Mayor’s Office and the City of Oakland in hopes of finding new locations for dedicated educational spaces to expand the program and draw in more participants.