The Apple Developer Academy Celebrates Third Graduating Class in Detroit

Graduates shared how the free technology-focused program has prepared them for a thriving app market.
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2024 Apple Developer Academy Graduation. // Photograph courtesy of Apple and Michigan State University

The Apple Developer Academy in Detroit, the first of its kind in the U.S., held a graduation ceremony for its third graduating cohort on June 27 at the First National Building.

The nearly 200 students, double the inaugural class in 2022, have gone through a 10-month program and learned the fundamentals of coding, marketing and entrepreneurship, project management, and more, to gain the necessary skills to enter the competitive IOS app space.

As part of Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, the academy was created in partnership with Michigan State University and with support from the Gilbert Family Foundation. The program, which welcomes students ages 18 and up, is free to join and is a place where students can create their own path in the tech field.

John Danial, an Iraqi Immigrant, spoke during the ceremony about the impact the academy has had on his life since moving to America.

“America gave my family a second chance to live, the academy gave me another chance to continue my education and become a software developer,” Danial said. The impact the program has made on Danial’s life shined through him as he spoke to the crowd. “10 months ago, I didn’t know anything about code, 10 months later, I have two apps in the app store.”

The ceremony also presented 50 previous academy graduates who returned for the second-year program called the Renaissance. First year students shared the app they have created during the program, while second-year students partnered with local businesses across Detroit to help solve a technology-focused need.

One of the presenting groups created a mobile app called Ease-Amind that helps users deal with overstimulation. The five members, Dante Parker, Lauren Lindsey, LaWayne Walker, Micah Howard, and Jarvis Murray were inspired by Lindsey’s nephew who uses fidgets to deal with overstimulation.

“The program reignited my passion for development and showed me I can make a name for myself,” Howard said.

A second-year team was assigned to work with the Detroit Historical Society to create an app that encourages engagement with the museum. The group developed an online scavenger hunt where participants can use augmented reality to engage with some of the pieces that are often missed by museum attendees.

The Apple Developer Academy has made a stunning impact in the City of Detroit. This upcoming fall, academy learners and alumni will be trained in a dedicated curriculum focused on Artificial Intelligence, the newest desirable skill in today’s online space.

To learn more about the Apple Developer Academy, visit developeracademy.msu.edu.