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Bethune-Cookman University takes part in HBCU C2 initiative

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Bethune-Cookman University (BC-U) is excited to announce its ongoing participation in Tennessee State University’s HBCU C2 initiative. Funded by Apple Computer and an extension of its Community Education Initiative, HBCU C2 provides B-CU with the technology and training that makes coding more easily accessible to students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community. 

As part of the initiative, Apple has provided B-CU with $90,00 worth of Apple products, including Macbooks, iPads, Apple TVs, Pens and access to the Apple Software Ecosystem. The initiative is being spearheaded by Dr. Dennis Pires, Interim dean for the College Of Business and Entrepreneurship, along with the help of Dr. Jan Boulware, Dr. Hector Torres, Dr. Juan Calderon, Dr. Sarah Krejci, Renee Mercer, Nabil Ahmed and Kathyrn Callahan.

“Apple is committed to working alongside communities of color to advance educational equity,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “We see this expansion of our Community Education Initiative and partnership with HBCUs as another step toward helping Black students realize their dreams and solve the problems of tomorrow.”

The initiative gives B-CU students the opportunity to learn new in-demand skills, engage in the digital space and give back to the community. In conjunction with the initiative, B-CU will provide training on app creation using Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curriculum. As the demand for coders continues to increase, this initiative will equip B-CU students with the tools and necessary knowledge to not only become skilled coders but also to assist others in learning these skills. B-CU will partner with K-12 schools, local government, community partners and stakeholders in an effort to expand coding education beyond the campus.

“The tech industry has seen a high demand for individuals with coding experience,” Dr. Pires said. “Our goal at B-CU is to utilize the HBCU C2 initiative to provide our learners and our community with the opportunity to gain the necessary coding skills. Coding is not limited to jobs in the tech industry; coders are the architects, inventors and creators that will continue to have a lasting impact on the world. We’re so grateful to be a part of this amazing opportunity.”

The HBCU C2 initiative brings coding and creativity experiences to all 100-plus HBCUs with Tennessee State University serving as a national hub for training educators and supporting its peer institutions. A national teaching and learning initiative, HBCU C2 empowers all HBCUs to bring coding and creativity experiences and program opportunities to their home campus as well as their communities. HBCU C2 promotes innovation, educational equity and aims to address community challenges by training students and the community using app design and Apple’s Swift programming language.

With the help of key industry partners, the initiative’s goal is to create a more skilled, diverse workforce for high-demand technical and creative careers. The HBCU C2 community is committed to creating opportunities that will diversify the tech workforce, and it aims to remove barriers, innovate STEM education and develop life-long learning pathways. 

The hubs are designed to create a multiplier effect in an effort to extend the program beyond the campus. Dr. Robbie Melton, Tennessee State University’s associate vice president of the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, championed the HBCU C2 initiative and sees hubs as an integral part of the initiative.

“A hub is a core of empowerment that goes beyond the campus,” Melton said. “It’s about going into the community, into the home, into businesses so that when people code, it becomes part of their lives and it‚Äôs helping them solve big problems. This initiative is going to help those who have been broken through Covid-19, broken through racism ‚ÄĒ and it’s going to empower them through knowledge and skills.”