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Apple Increases Scholarships to Worldwide Developers Conference as It Seeks to Promote Diversity

Apple said it would offer as many as 350 scholarships to students, women and minorities.


Apple bolstered the number of scholarships it will offer to aspiring attendees of the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June, as it seeks to cultivate greater diversity in its developer community.

The Cupertino technology giant said it will extend as many as 350 scholarships to students age 13 and older and members of organizations working to promote science, technology, engineering and math education for young women, blacks and Latinos. The National Society of Black Engineers, App Camp for Girls and La TechLa are among 20 organizations whose members would be eligible for a scholarship.

Last year, Apple offered 200 scholarships.

“We have quite a number of iOS developers — women who are volunteers for the program — who are interested in applying,” said Jean MacDonald, founder of App Camp for Girls, a Portland, Ore., group that sponsors a week-long summer programming camp for middle school-age girls. “Everybody’s kind of floored by it.”

Apple is among the Silicon Valley technology companies whose record on not-so-diverse hiring practices has come under scrutiny.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson attended Apple’s annual shareholder meeting last month to applaud Apple CEO Tim Cook for his commitment to ushering in a new era of diversity. But the civil rights leader also called on Apple and its top executive to set concrete goals and timetables for achieving a staff that represents the region’s black and Latino populations.

Apple released its diversity report last April, which revealed that it is typical of Silicon Valley technology companies: Predominantly white and male. Apple reported its workforce is 70 percent male and 30 percent female. About 55 percent are white, 15 percent are Asian, 11 percent are Latino and 7 percent are black.

Nationally, Latinos make up 14 percent of the U.S. workforce and blacks 12 percent.

Cook pledged to strive for greater diversity “until my toes point up.”

A spokesperson for the National Society of Black Engineers said Apple has been working for the past year with the organization, which is dedicated to helping black engineers excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. The tech giant recently joined the organization’s board of corporate affiliates.

“We sorely lack when it comes to programming, and Apple has a great opportunity for us and our membership to engage and learn more,” said Don Nelson, NSBE’s director of corporate relations. “In our race to 10,000 engineers by 2025 we hope that engagements such as these can help us grow interest in STEM-related fields, specifically technology and engineering.”

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