Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will run from June 8 through June 12 at Moscone West in San Francisco, California. To promote greater diversity among developers, Apple will offer 350 WWDC Scholarships to students and members of participating STEM organizations this year. Last year, Cupertino provided 200 such scholarships.
The scholarships are available to students age 13 and older, as well as members of organizations working to promote science, technology, engineering, and math education for young women, blacks, and Latinos. There are 20 organizations whose members qualify for the scholarships, including the National Society of Black Engineers, App Camp for Girls, Women Who Code, and La TechLa.
Jean MacDonald, the founder of App Camp for Girls, a group from Portland, Oregon that sponsors a week-long summer programming camp for middle school-age girls, expressed to Re/code how impressed she is by the increased number of scholarships.
We have quite a number of iOS developers – women who are volunteers for the program – who are interested in applying. Everybody’s kind of floored by it.
Apple, along with other Silicon Valley tech companies, has been scrutinized in the past for a lack of diversity in its hiring practices. Last April, Apple’s diversity report revealed that Cupertino’s workforce is typical of Silicon Valley technology companies: predominantly white and male. To be more specific, Apple’s workforce is 70 percent male and 30 percent female. About 55 percent of its employees are white, 15 percent are Asian, 11 percent are Latino, and 7 percent are black. Tim Cook has pledged to work for greater diversity “until my toes point up.”
WWDC is traditionally when the latest technologies for iOS and OS X are announced. This year, we expect to learn about iOS 9 and the successor to OS X Yosemite, as well as the revamped Beats Music service and possibly an Apple-branded streaming television service.
To apply for a scholarship, students and members of participating organizations can apply here. Applicants will need to build and submit an app that showcases their creativity and technical skills, written in Objective-C and Swift or entirely in Swift. Applications can be submitted from Wednesday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. PDT until Sunday, April 26 at 5:00 p.m. PDT. Applicants will find out their status in the scholarship selection process by Friday, May 8.