On Tuesday Johnny C. Taylor, President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund stopped by “NewsOne Now” to make a major announcement that could literally change the lives of thousands of HBCU students across the country.
Fresh of the heels of its Apple Watch announcement, Apple released a statement through Fortune magazine stating that it will donate a sizable gift of over $40 million dollars to Historically Back Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
In an exclusive interview with Fortune, Apple’s human resources chief Denise Young Smith said the company is partnering with several non-profit organizations on a multi-year, multi-million-dollar effort to increase the pipeline of women, minorities, and veterans in the technology industry—and, of course, at Apple.
“We wanted to create opportunities for minority candidates to get their first job at Apple,” said Young Smith, who took over as its head of HR a little over a year ago.“There is tremendous upside to that and we are dogged about the fact that we can’t innovate without being diverse and inclusive.”
The Fortune Magazine article also stated
“.. the company is partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a non-profit that supports students enrolled in public, historically black colleges and universities (known as HBCUs). These schools include North Carolina A&T State University, Howard University, and Grambling State University (where Young Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism in 1978). All told, there are 100 HBCUs across the country—47 of them are considered public—and collectively they graduate nearly 20% of African-Americans who earn undergraduate degrees.
Apple is committing over $40 million to the fund, which will use the money to create a database of computer science majors at HBCUs, train both students and faculty and offer scholarships. Apple will also create a paid internship program for particularly promising students.
Taylor spoke with Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now” about this historic investment in HBCU’s and commitment to diversity.
“I want to make the point that this is exclusively for HBCUs,” said Taylor.
“Too many often these announcements go out and part of the money goes to HBCUs and part of the money goes else where. Every one of these dollars will go to HBCU students for internships, scholarships, first time gigs, first time jobs, also to our faculty because people often times forget the HBCU faculty are the ones who are responsible for preparing these students for getting into these competitive responsible roles.”
Taylor highlighted HBCU alumn, Denise Young Smith, head of Global HR at Apple as being the driving force behind this momentous gift.
Taylor told Martin Apple did not just want to give a gift, but wanted to “make an investment in HBCU’s”
“We spent several months designing a program that would put resources exclusively into HBCUs, but would ultimately help their students become not only future Apple employees, but also part of the Apple entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Taylor.
Watch Martin and Johnny C. Taylor, President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall Fund discuss Apple announcing their game changing $40+ million dollar investment into Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the video clip above.
Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.