Regenerating Detroit: Michigan State University Apple Developer Academy Joins the Tech Revolution

The tech revolution sweeping through Detroit just got a significant boost as the prestigious Michigan State University (MSU) announced the establishment of an Apple Developer Academy within the city. This groundbreaking collaboration between academia and industry promises to empower the next generation of tech innovators, further fueling Detroit’s transformation into a thriving hub of technological advancement.

The Apple Developer Academy in Detroit recognized students in its second graduating cohort who completed the 10-month program, The free program, which is the only one of its kind in the United States, was launched as part of Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative and offers students an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of coding, design, marketing and project management — with an emphasis on inclusivity and making a positive impact in local communities.

“Today we celebrate the academic achievements of over 160 new graduates whose skills as app developers and entrepreneurs will now extend to contribute to communities across the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and beyond,” said MSU Interim Provost Thomas Jeitschko. “The growth in this year’s number of graduates is a reflection of not only the positive momentum of this shared venture, but of MSU’s ongoing commitment to foster collaborative partnerships and community engagement with Detroit.”

The 2023 graduating class of more than 160 students range in age from 18 to 70 and come from diverse backgrounds with a variety of educational, professional and personal experiences. Through the program, students received 10 months of rigorous and comprehensive training with all the equipment needed for iOS development provided at no cost.

The MSU Apple Developer Academy is an educational program that aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the ever-evolving tech industry. With a focus on app development and entrepreneurship, the academy will provide aspiring developers with a comprehensive curriculum, hands-on training, and access to cutting-edge resources.

This one-of-a-kind program intentionally chose Detroit, a city that reigns resilience – but why?

“Detroit is a renaissance city it has so much potential and there’s such a melting pot of individuals here,” said Sarah Gretter Director of Apple Developer Academy in Detroit. “I think as we looked at programs like our racial, equity, and justice initiative, this felt like a city that could really embrace this and succeed.”

This partnership between MSU and Apple represents a unique synergy between educational excellence and industry expertise. It will serve as a catalyst for driving innovation, fostering collaboration, and nurturing entrepreneurial spirit within the Detroit community. By joining forces, MSU and Apple are ensuring that Detroiters can not only embrace the tech revolution but also actively contribute to it.

The academy plays a pivotal role in creating a talent pipeline that meets the growing demands of the tech industry. It provides students with a unique learning environment, combining rigorous academic instruction with real-world experiences. Graduates of the program will be well-prepared to make significant contributions to the thriving tech ecosystem that is taking root in Detroit.

Graduates like Kevin Marion, a father of two and a Detroit native. Kevin joined the Academy with a longtime interest in technology. After working in an IT career as a system administrator, he wanted to shift into software development. Although he’d learned other coding languages in a bootcamp prior to the Academy, he felt iOS development was his true calling. He joined the Academy to develop his skillset and hasn’t looked back.

“I was in the inaugural cohort last and after I graduated, I got hired within the academy to be one of the coding mentors,” said Marion. “They paid me to get my swift certification and then I got my project management certification, so that’s pretty huge to me.”

Just last month, Kevin landed a job as an iOS developer based in Detroit.

The MSU Apple Developer Academy is deeply committed to inclusivity and diversity, aiming to provide opportunities to individuals from all backgrounds. By removing barriers to entry and actively encouraging participation from oftentimes overlooked communities, the academy seeks to ensure that the benefits of the tech revolution are accessible to everyone.

In turn, this initiative represents a profound investment in Detroit’s future.

As we witness the establishment of the MSU Apple Developer Academy, we are reminded of the words of James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Detroit is confronting the challenges of the future head-on, with an unwavering commitment to embracing change, empowering its residents, and forging a brighter tomorrow.

The addition of the MSU Apple Developer Academy to Detroit’s booming tech landscape amplifies the city’s appeal as a hub for talent and innovation. Entrepreneurs, investors, and visionaries from around the world are taking notice of the transformative energy that radiates from the city. Detroit is rapidly becoming a magnet for startups, tech giants, and cutting-edge research and development.

With the MSU Apple Developer Academy, Detroit has yet another powerful asset to propel its tech-driven evolution. Detroit is not merely embracing change; it is shaping it, and the possibilities are limitless.

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