- Chicago is the latest city to integrate Apple's "Everyone Can Code" program, which centers around the tech giant's Swift coding language and uses coursework developed by the company, into its public schools and city colleges, Fortune reports.
- The program is expected to reach close to 500,000 students in the city, and several schools are also expected to debut after-school Swift Coding Clubs that teach the language's basics, while community colleges will offer in-depth classes on app development with the language.
- The latest educational push from Apple follows moves in November that will see Swift-related course programming adopted by 20 universities outside of the U.S. and in August to get coding courses in 30 Austin, TX, community colleges.
Coding has been proclaimed as some to be the blue-collar industry of the future, and with a major skills gap to close in the field, it's no surprise companies like Apple and Microsoft are developing their own programs to ensure a pipeline of future employees.
Closing that gap, however, will require additional focus on making the field more welcoming to female students and students of color. That means addressing stereotypes of what a STEM worker is and providing more diverse examples of role models in the field. As recent films like the Academy Award-nominated "Hidden Figures" demonstrate, doing so is very possible.
As the traditional blue-collar industries in fields like manufacturing and mining are disrupted and automated, it will become even more necessary for schools to embrace these pathways as a means of fully preparing students for life in the real world — especially those who don't go on to pursue post-secondary education.