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Apple announces $50 million education initiative for supply chain workers

Apple is launching a Supplier Employee Development Fund in partnership with labor and education organizations, spending $50 million to empower suppliers' employees through training.

The new project is being made in collaboration with the International Labor Organization, the International Organization for Migration, plus what Apple describes as new and expanded partnerships with other groups. Those include universities, non-profit organizations, and leading rights advocates.

"We put people first in everything that we do," said Sarah Chandler, Apple's senior director of Environment and Supply Chain Innovation, in a statement, "and we're proud to announce a new commitment to accelerate our progress and provide even more opportunities for people across our supply chain."

"Together with rights advocates and education leaders," she continued, "we are continuing to drive new innovation to support people and the planet."

The $50 million investment includes supporting worker rights programs in the electronics sector. It also entails supporting the work of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in its efforts to expand rights training and the use of its labor recruitment tools.

"At IOM, we understand that supply chain responsibility is complex, and must be driven by innovation, results, and partnerships," Amy Pope, IOM's deputy director general for Management and Reform, said in the same statement. "Improving people's lives must be at its core."

"The IOM and Apple partnership has proven results in Apple's own supply chain and paves the way for others in the industry to follow," she continued. "To effect real change, we need global collaboration that engages workers, NGOs, government, and industry. Apple's new commitments will have tangible, meaningful benefits for workers around the world."

By 2023, Apple expects more than 100,000 supplier employees to take part in the new education training and coursework. The courses will range from technical certifications and leadership training, to coding, robotics, and manufacturing.

Apple says that this new fund continues the company's commitment to investing in people. Its previous supplier employee training has reported reached more than five million people.

Alongside announcing the new fund, Apple has released its 16th annual People and Environment in Our Supply Chain Report. Published a little earlier in the year than 2021's report, it summarizes how Apple is supporting people transitioning to clean energy across its supply chain.