The article below originally appeared in the Silicon Valley Business Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
The San Mateo Community College District has partnered with Apple Inc. as the Cupertino-based tech giant expands its app development curriculum to community colleges.
SMCCCD — which includes College of San Mateo, Skyline College and Cañada College — is one of the first six community colleges to offer the company’s new “App Development with Swift” curriculum, Apple said in a May 24 press release. The full-year course is designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students the Swift programming language specifically for Apple products.
“We’ve seen firsthand the impact that coding has on individuals and the US economy as a whole,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the statement. “The app economy and software development are among the fastest-growing job sectors in America and we’re thrilled to be providing educators and students with the tools to learn coding. Community colleges play a critical role in helping students achieve their dreams, and we hope these courses will open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue what they love.”
Apple has been under pressure from President Trump about the fact that the U.S.’ most valuable company manufacturers its products abroad. Trump has said he would like to see companies like Apple create more blue-collar jobs in the U.S. In a move many viewed as a response to the president’s criticism, Apple earlier this month announced a $1 billion U.S. manufacturing investment fund. Its first investment from the fund was a $200 million stake in Gorilla Glass maker Corning.
“The new Swift coding curriculum is another example of Apple’s commitment to economic development and will help create even more career opportunities for students across the country,” Apple said in its statement. The company claims to “support” 2 million U.S. jobs — although 1.5 million of those aren’t direct Apple jobs, but jobs in the broader Apple app development economy.
“App Development with Swift” is an extension of Apple’s existing K-12 “Everyone Can Code” curricula, according to the release.
TechCrunch notes that Apple isn’t making money on its “App Development with Swift” curriculum sales through iBooks, but the effort will build a pipeline of future developers.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment and social initiatives, told TechCrunch that the company targeted diverse areas of the country when it picked its initial six community college partners.
“These are six schools in very different areas of the country,” she told TechCrunch. “Some of them have more women than men. We have a lot of folks who are lower income or underrepresented minorities. A lot are interested in being a part of workforce development because they want to reach mid-development students.”
The other five schools initially offering the Swift curriculum are:
- Houston Community College, which will also open an iOS Coding and Design School to teach the curriculum
- Alabama Community College System
- Columbus State Community College in Ohio
- Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg Area Community College
- Arizona’s Mesa Community College