Apple's commitments include a pledge of more than $40 million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to create a database of computer science majors at historically black colleges and universities, provide training for HBCU students and faculty, and fund scholarships. Apple also will create a paid internship program for particularly promising students.
Johnny Taylor, president and CEO of the fund, told Fortune the gift to the organization is both its largest and most comprehensive to date. "Historically, other organizations have provided scholarship dollars or focused on whatever area matters most to them," said Taylor. "What differentiates this partnership with Apple is that it hits on everything that we do — it is the most comprehensive program ever offered to an HBCU organization."
"We wanted to create opportunities for minority candidates to get their first job at Apple," said Denise Young Smith, Apple's human resources chief. "There is tremendous upside to that, and we are dogged about the fact that we can't innovate without being diverse and inclusive."
The tech giant also pledged $10 million over four years to the National Center for Women and Information Technology to create a more robust pipeline of female technology workers by doubling the number of women receiving four-year degrees supported by NCWIT internships, scholarships, and other resources.
In addition, the company is in discussions with military leaders to find a way to provide technology training and specialized onboarding programs for veterans. Apple's commitment follows Intel Corporation's announcement of a $300 million investment in its own Diversity in Technology initiative and efforts by Google, Microsoft, Symantec, and other tech companies to encourage girls to enter the technology field. "In any of these programs, we're really trying to provide focus, impact, and a ripple effect," said Young Smith, "not just on Apple."