The Root

Apple Inc. and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund have partnered to build a pipeline for African-American students into the world’s largest information technology company, with a new internship effort called the Apple HBCU Scholars Program.

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This year, 31 students from HBCUs will each be awarded $25,000 during their senior year of study. They will also participate in a 10-day see-it-all visit to the company prior to the three-month internship. Additionally, each student will be paired with an employee from Apple during his or her time in Cupertino, Calif., where Apple is headquartered.

There has been recent criticism, spearheaded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, regarding the lack of diversity at large tech companies. Apple’s program is the first of its kind to focus specifically on African Americans and to use the obvious source of HBCUs, which graduate thousands of students in science, technology, engineering and math fields, as a connector.

image1“Many companies talk about wanting a more diverse workforce. Apple is actually demonstrating its commitment—and in a big way,” Thurgood Marshall College Fund President Johnny C. Taylor Jr. told The Root Friday in Washington, D.C.

“To select 31 students from nontraditional recruitment sources like HBCUs is simply unheard of and worthy of special attention. Apple is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to workforce diversity,” Taylor added. read more