APPLE IN AUSTIN

As Apple continues its booming growth in Austin, CEO Tim Cook pays a visit

Cook will spend the day meeting with employees and Austin apps developers, and will announce an education partnership with ACC.

Posted August 25th, 2017

As Apple Inc. continues its booming expansion in Austin, CEO Tim Cook is paying a visit on Friday to meet with employees and local entrepreneurs and to announce a new education partnership.

Cook will start the day at tech accelerator Capital Factory in downtown Austin, where he will meet with local developers and check out the apps they have created.

He will then be joined at Capital Factory by Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Austin Community College president and CEO Richard Rhodes to announce a curriculum program with ACC.

Apple, the world’s largest consumer electronics company, has made a multimillion-dollar bet on Austin, which has become the company’s second-largest U.S. hub outside of its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. 

Apple, which now has about 6,000 employees in Austin, spent several years building a sprawling 38-acre campus on West Parmer Lane in Northwest Austin.

The campus, which is responsible for running the company’s business operations in the Northern Hemisphere, features seven limestone office buildings with a combined 1.1 million square feet.

The site includes restaurants, smoothie and coffee bars, a full-scale gym with saunas, and a wellness center with services including medical, dental and eye care along with acupuncture and massage.

Work done at the site, known as the Americas Operations Center, includes finance, human resources, corporate sales, customer support, information systems and accounting.

Meanwhile, Apple has built a core engineering team across town in Southwest Austin, near Loop 360 and Bee Cave Road. The Austin team is now Apple’s biggest research and development team outside of Cupertino.

The engineering site, called Capital Ridge, offers amenities similar to the Americas Operations Center, including a cafe, espresso bar and a wellness center that offers preventive and urgent care, as well as acupuncture, massage and physical therapy. It also has a fitness center, with group and private classes.

PHOTO GALLERY: Take a peek inside Apple’s Austin operations.

Building and maintaining a world-class team in Austin is critical to Apple’s continued growth, said Roger Kay, an analyst with Massachusetts-based Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc.

The company has 80,000 employees in the U.S. and 116,000 worldwide.

“Apple has an almost infinite need for really good engineers, and the supply is limited,” Kay said in an interview last year. “They’ve got plenty of money, but they have fished out Silicon Valley pretty much entirely. For Apple to find more talent, they have to reach further afield.”

In return for expanding its operations in Austin, Apple is set to receive $35 million in tax incentives over the next few years from the  City of Austin, Travis County and the state of Texas. Under the terms of the incentives package, which was signed in March 2012, Apple agreed to create more than 3,600 new full-time jobs in Austin in 10 years while retaining at least 3,100 existing full-time jobs year over year. 

The average wage for those new jobs is to be $54,000 a year in the first year of the expansion and will stretch to $73,500 in the 10th year, according to the incentives agreement.

Under the education plan that Cook will announce, Austin Community College will offer Apple’s app development curriculum to its 74,000 students at 11 campuses this year.

The program, called App Development with Swift, is a full-year course designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students elements of app design using Swift, a programming language developed by Apple.

Launched last year, the program is currently being used at more than 30 community college campuses in 14 states. The curriculum, which is free for schools, is also available as a free download from Apple’s iBooks Store.

Apple is targeting the curriculum to community colleges to reach student populations where lower-income, women and under-represented minorities and mid-career students are broadly represented, a company spokesman said.

"We’ve seen firsthand how Apple’s app ecosystem has transformed the global economy, creating entire new industries and supporting millions of jobs,” Cook said in a statement. “We believe passionately that same opportunity should be extended to everyone and community colleges have a powerful reach into communities where education becomes the great equalizer."

Adler said the program provides an opportunity for under-served populations to break into Austin’s tech workforce.

“Austin’s unbelievable prosperity has proven that a rising tide does not lift all boats if some of those boats leak,” he said in a written statement. “Our job is to plug those leaks to lift people in Austin out of poverty and into good-paying jobs. By providing these classes at ACC, Apple is helping plug a lot of leaks.”

Deborah CannonA balcony patio at Apple’s Capital Ridge development center in Southwest Austin.

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