Apple on Tuesday announced it is working to bring coding opportunities to almost half a million students in the city of Chicago, through an expansion of the company’s Everyone Can Code program.
The Swift-centered coding initiative has been designed in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago, local businesses and non-profit organizations.
“At Apple we believe coding is an essential skill, so we’ve designed Everyone Can Code to give everyone the power to learn, write and teach coding,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled to be working with our friends and partners in the great city of Chicago on this initiative. Together with Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges, we look forward to helping students learn Swift and build the skills they need to thrive in today’s workplace.”
Starting in the spring, Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago will expand their Everyone Can Code curriculum and materials, while City Colleges of Chicago will offer the the App Development with Swift curriculum for the first time, helping students build skills around coding and app development.
Chicago Public Schools will also offer new Swift Coding Clubs, according to Apple, bringing coding education to after-school programs. The clubs aim to guide students through key coding concepts, introduce them to Swift and walk them through an app design and prototyping project.
Several businesses operating in the area will also be making volunteer opportunities available for their Chicago-based employees to help support students. Companies include GE Transportation, IBM, Jellyvision, Lextech, McDonald’s, Rush University Medical Center, Ulta Beauty, and United Airlines.
“Coding is not just a critical skill in today’s economy, it is another outlet for students to expand their horizons and explore their creativity,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Everyone Can Code is an incredible opportunity for young people across Chicago to learn the language of the future, sharpen their minds and develop the skill sets needed to compete and win in the 21st century.”
Over the last two years, Apple has promoted its Swift programming language as ideal for anyone who is keen to code but has no previous computing experience. In 2016, it released Swift Playgrounds, an app aimed at teaching both children and adults how to code through simple interactive coding exercises, which is meant to make learning to code “easy and fun” for everyone.