Steel and Civil Rights. That’s what we’ve always been known for, and not cast in the best light. But right now, Birmingham, is experiencing a renaissance. The downtown area is transforming into a thriving center of business and culture. With strong progressive leadership in place, private and public sectors are working together like never before toward the greater good.
While Birmingham is thriving in many ways, the city can‘t escape its past. The legacy of segregation has created an opportunity gap with a generational impact. The city’s schools struggle to get students prepared for the workforce of the future, and many adults remain underemployed. Enter visionary private-sector leadership. Largely from the tech community and encouraged by forward thinkers at Alabama Power, they had an idea to make a generational statement in this city by fostering technical education for our most disadvantaged students.
Tim Cook? Yeah. That Tim Cook. He’s from south Alabama and is a proud alumnus of Auburn University – like many of the successful engineers driving the tech scene in the state. They knew they had a big idea that would get amplified on blast if he got involved. So they took the fledgling but growing concept called Ed Farm to Cupertino to see if Apple would want to engage. And they did – catapulting this effort into a transformative initiative that combines innovative digital-centric curriculum with practical, hands-on classes. This new approach offers real opportunities to underserved children and adults.
Following a successful brand design and launch event (with lots of AR and digital tricks), the program and center are up and running. And it has created a tremendous outpouring of community support and press coverage. Ed Farm has filled all of its classes and teacher programs and is looking to expand.