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What To Know About Detroit’s Growth as an Emerging Tech Hub In 2021

Detroit’s potential to establish itself as an innovative tech hub has become increasingly clear in recent years with the arrival of TechTown Detroit, an incubator and accelerator, and tech companies such as Detroit Labs, StockX, and Plain Sight App, to name a few.

What is a tech tub? It is essentially a “community” known for its promotion of innovation for technology-based companies. A tech hub is a collection of like-minded people working in various business sectors but its focus on the use of technology, or tech, creates a unique environment where individuals, ideas, and the companies that support both can thrive.

Being a tech hub gives a city the chance to become home to the next big thing. A strong local economy, an abundance of white-collar jobs, access to talent and sources of funding, and a relevant workforce with skills geared towards the cutting edge are all characteristics of a tech hub.

Earlier this year, tech giant Apple, Inc. announced its plans to open a first-of-its-kind developer academy in Detroit. Just months prior, Amazon announced a two-year commitment to expand its white-collar and tech workforce in the Motor City. Here’s more on how both tech giants are targeting Detroit’s potential to become more widely known as a tech hub, offering equitable tech education and income growth to boot!

Apple will open its first U.S.-based developer academy in Detroit

Apple’s decision to open a developer academy described as ‘the first program of its kind in the U.S.’ in Detroit was met with widespread praise and excitement. The news carried with it a celebration of expanding equitable access to educational opportunities in a city seeking to close equity gaps its residents are too familiar with.

The school will be Apple’s first developer academy in America and is part of the tech giant’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, which launched last year in the wake of the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

The Apple Developer Academy is a collaboration with Michigan State University. It will be free and open for students over age 18. Additionally, there is no requirement to be enrolled in school or have any prior coding experience to attend.

The academy’s programming will cover coding, design, marking, and professional skills.

Two programs will be offered: The first is a 30-day introductory program on what it means to be a developer. The second program is a 10- to 12-month intensive program that will give students the skills to become a developer and possibly start their own business. Apple expects to teach nearly 1,000 students per year. The developer academy is set to open later this year.

Amazon wants more of its white-collar, tech pros in the Motor City

Last summer, Amazon announced its plan to fill 100 white-collar jobs in Detroit that pay $150,000 annually. The hiring will take place over the next two years.

The positions will be based in Downtown Detroit with the new hires joining 400 existing Amazon employees, the E-Commerce giant said.

The hiring initiative is part of Amazon’s nationwide ‘Tech Hub’ expansion in six cities that calls for filling 3,500 new tech and corporation positions.

Amazon said it will expand its office at 150 West Jefferson by 25,000 square feet to accommodate the new Detroit hires.

In other news, Amazon also unveiled plans to build a $400 million, 3.8-million-square-foot distribution center at the old State Fairgrounds on 8 mile in Detroit. The center will employ an estimated 1,200 people at $15 an hour, plus benefits.

The distribution center is expected to open in 2022

Written by Let’s Detroit Alicia McClendon 

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