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June 27, 2024

Apple Developer Academy celebrates its third graduating class

The Apple Developer Academy today celebrated its third graduating class, empowering nearly 200 Detroiters with the skills to excel in the city’s rapidly expanding tech sector.

This partnership between Apple and Michigan State University, with the support of the Gilbert Family Foundation, offers a free, intensive 10-month program focused on coding, design, marketing, project management and newly introduced curriculum for artificial intelligence technologies and frameworks. The academy prioritizes inclusivity, encouraging a diverse range of students, aged 18 to over 70, to develop innovative tech solutions that address local community needs.

As part of the Gilbert Family Foundation and Rocket Community Fund’s $500 million, 10-year commitment to Detroit, the Apple Developer Academy goes beyond providing training. It fosters a direct talent pipeline that connects graduates with internships and career opportunities at local businesses throughout Detroit. This strengthens the city’s tech ecosystem and creates pathways to economic mobility for Detroiters.

“The Apple Developer Academy is a perfect example of how we’re supporting Detroiters to build skills that will help them get paid,” said Laura Grannemann, executive director of the Gilbert Family Foundation. “Detroit is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s leading technology hubs, and the academy’s graduates are uniquely equipped to take advantage of the city’s growth. The success of this year’s graduates is a testament to the potential that exists within our city when we remove traditional barriers to access.”

The academy represents one aspect of Michigan State University’s increasing presence in Detroit and effort to expand throughout the state.

“The Apple Developer Academy empowers students with innovative problem-solving skills and cutting-edge technology,” said Dave Weatherspoon, vice provost of Michigan State University. “MSU is proud to participate in a program that prioritizes equity and accessibility, equipping Detroiters with the tools to develop apps that address critical challenges. These students bring essential, often overlooked perspectives that will lead to better solutions for the future.”

Established as part of Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, the academys comprehensive curriculum equips students with the knowledge and tools needed to build iOS apps that contribute to their local businesses and communities.

Its exciting to see the impactful ideas that students at the Apple Developer Academy are building, and its an honor to play a part in supporting the work of this vibrant and creative community,” said Alisha Johnson Wilder, director of Apples Racial Equity and Justice Initiative. We created REJI with the goal of further advancing our work to build an equitable world, and these students continue to prove that with the power of technology and greater access to resources, so much is possible. We cant wait to see how this years graduating class continues to make a positive impact in Detroit and beyond.”

Dezmond Blair, a graduating student at the academy, is now a coding mentor at the Foundations program and plans to continue building apps, with a particular interest in visionOS, Apples spatial computing platform for Apple Vision Pro. Blair is also a 2024 Swift Student Challenge Distinguished Winner, who was recognized for his app project MTB-XTREME, which marries his passion for biking with technology and takes users through an immersive ride.

“The Apple Developer Academy has truly put me on the path to becoming a world-class developer, and it has opened so many doors for me,” said Blair. I’m looking forward to utilizing my knowledge to create and publish my own apps, as well as working with other likeminded developers to create experiences that will change the world.”

To further support graduates’ career paths, 50 exceptional students will continue their training in the second-year Renaissance program. The program has offered advanced training, mentorship and collaboration opportunities with local organizations this year including the Detroit Historical Museum, interior design studio Parini, sustainable boutique retailer eugenie Detroit, and MSU Museum. While many academy graduates have already secured positions at prominent companies, Renaissance learners are also encouraged to consider launching their own businesses.

This year’s Renaissance learners participated in Operations School, a six-month program providing specialized workforce training and entrepreneurship education. This unique curriculum equips graduates not only with technical skills but also with the business acumen needed to build their own tech ventures.

Learn more or apply for the Apple Developer Academy.

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