SAN FRANCISCO – Apple is launching a new program designed to address the shortage of women in the technology industry in executive and computer programming positions.
Under the initiative announced Monday, businesswomen and programmers will attend two-week tutoring sessions at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California.
The camps will be held every three months starting in January. For each round, Apple will accept up to 20 creators of applications founded or directed by a woman. The creator of the application must have at least one programmer in their ranks to qualify. Apple will cover the travel expenses of up to three workers from each accepted company.
Like other major technology companies, Apple has been trying to decrease its dependence on men in well-paid programming. Women occupied only 23 percent of Apple's technology jobs in 2017, according to the company's latest breakdown. That's just a slight improvement of 20 percent in 2014, despite the company's commitment to diversify its workforce.
The idea behind the new camp is to keep women interested and immersed in the field, said Esther Hare, senior director of marketing for global developers at Apple.
It is not clear how much the new Apple program will have. Google also offers training for girls and women pursuing careers in technology, but their program has not done much to diversify the workforce so far. Women were hired for nearly 25 percent of Google's technology jobs in 2017, compared to almost 21 percent in 2014, according to the company.
Apple and other technology companies argue that one of the main reasons why many men are on their payroll is because women traditionally have not specialized in the mathematics and science curriculum needed to program.
But industry critics have accused technology companies of discriminating against women again through a hierarchy dominated by men who have ruled the industry for decades.
Apple does not say how much it is spending on the initiative, although beyond travel expenses, the company will depend on its current employees to lead the sessions.