Apple announces launch of innovation hub for HBCUs

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 10:39 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Apple today announced the launch of the Propel Center, which will be a global hub for innovation and learning for the entire HBCU community.

Miles College, Talladega College, Stillman College, and Lawson State have signed on as partners.

The propel center is designed to connect HBCU students to technology, accelerated programs, and entrepreneurship skills development while focusing on social justice and equality. Offering connections for students and faculty to over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Michael Johnson, the chief innovation officer at Miles College, says this is a great opportunity for students and staff.

“To be able to offer an opportunity for our students to develop a technological skill set,” says Johnson. “And kind of build capacity for them to become industry leaders in a variety of different sectors.”

The center was designed by Ed Farm with Apple and Southern Company as partners, to provide first class tools and skills for students to as they enter the workforce or entrepreneurship.

“We are investing the necessary resources to compete globally,” says Johnson. “To provide opportunities for our students to graduate with a first class educational experience to compete with any other college student in the country.”

Students will connect with HBCUs all over the country. They will access the Propel Center’s online digital learning platform from anywhere. The center will offer a wide range of educational tracks, including AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, career preparation, and entrepreneurship. Experts from Apple will help develop curricula and provide ongoing mentorship and learning support, along with offering internship opportunities.

“But the goal is to be able to provide a 21st century educational opportunity for our students to continue to develop their skills,” says Johnson. “The emphasis here is that you want to be able to offer students anywhere, right. Whether their on a college campus or they’re on a college campus or their taking classes from home. You want to be able to offer them the resources to enhance their skillsets where ever they are.”

Propel Center is part of Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.

The Propel Center’s headquarters will be in Atlanta at their Atlanta University Center. To find out more, visit

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