Sep 09 2022

Propel Center and HBCUs Announce Collaboration with Disney

The center, created in conjunction with Apple, aims to give historically underrepresented students better access to technology jobs.

Students at historically Black colleges and universities have a new opportunity to begin careers in technology at one of the world’s most recognizable companies, thanks to a partnership between the Propel Center and the Walt Disney Company that was announced at the 2022 HBCU Philanthropy Symposium in July.

According to the Propel Center, which describes itself as a “first-of-its-kind ideation hub” that intends to “build generations of Black leaders who advance equity and justice through technology, entrepreneurship, education and social impact,” the new partnership will connect students with Disney on two fronts.

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First, the program will offer mentorships, internships and guest speakers through participating HBCUs. Disney will work in collaboration with HBCU educators to develop a curriculum to prepare students for a number of careers, including those in technology, arts, media, entertainment and hospitality. The first curriculum enhancements will focus on technology and hospitality, “where Disney has a significant number of entry-level career opportunities,” according to a press release.

“At Disney, we know that technology and hospitality play a huge role in telling great stories and creating seamless consumer experiences. We want to give HBCU students the opportunity to build the skills necessary in those areas to help them succeed in their careers,” said Jennifer Cohen, Disney’s executive vice president of corporate social responsibility, in the press release.

READ MORE: How one HBCU is creating a sense of community for online learners.

The Propel Center was created in 2021, thanks in part to a $25 million contribution from founding partner Apple. The center has a physical location at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, which includes member institutions Clark Atlanta UniversityMorehouse College, the Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College. The center is available to students at additional HBCUs and offers a “robust virtual platform” for learning. Educational programs include a curriculum developed in partnership with Apple and training on AI and machine learning, app development, augmented reality, and more.

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