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Apple educational investment in Oakland linked to meeting between Cook, Rev. Jesse Jackson

Apple's recent educational investments into Oakland, Calif. were prompted by a talk between CEO Tim Cook and civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, according to a report.

Image Credit: Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY

Image Credit: Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY

"Tim, all these companies say they can't find talent," Jackson recalled telling Cook after an Apple shareholders meeting, sharing the quote with USA Today. "Oakland is the most multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural city on the West Coast. It's within shouting distance of most of these tech companies. They say 'we can't find them,' Well, they aren't looking in the right places. Come to Oakland. You'll find one of the most creative, innovative, spirited talent bases right in the backyard of Silicon Valley.'"

Apple recently donated 40 iPads to the East Oakland Youth Development Center, which is operating a six-week summer camp aimed at introducing kids to technology and skills they might not otherwise have access to. Many of the kids are impoverished minorities and may not have access to computers at home, despite Oakland being directly linked to San Francisco, one of the world's biggest and wealthiest technology hubs. Apple has offices there and its main headquarters isn't much farther away, in the town of Cupertino.

Lisa Jackson —Apple's VP of environmental, policy and social initiatives —reportedly first visited the Development Center in June, and last week told USA Today that the children there are "working on everything from learning to code to writing résumés." The Center said it is eventually hoping to teach dedicated coding classes.

Apple has occasionally come under pressure from groups like Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which have noted that many Silicon Valley companies are disproportionately white. The company has made some progress in diversifying —its latest official statistics identified its U.S. workforce as 56 percent white.