PROPEL Center and Apple Host Arts and Entertainment Career Accelerator for HBCU Students

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Tuesday, June 11th, 2024

PROPEL Center, an innovative hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), is assembling a dynamic cohort of 50 students from 19 HBCUs for an immersive two-week experience as part of its Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator, launched in collaboration with Apple. The 2024 Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator program is a year-long experience launched exclusively for HBCU students, designed to bolster diversity in the arts and entertainment industry. 

The accelerator culminates with an immersive summer experience, which kicks off at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 10, and concludes at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, the week of June 16.

Over the course of the academic year, students earned micro-credentials in the custom PROPEL Learn app, gaining new skills in narrative development and storytelling, as well as resume building and career development. As part of the upcoming summer experience, students will team up to create albums around the theme of "Propelling Preservation" — focused on lifting up the stories, voices, and legacy of the HBCU community. Participants will use Apple technology and tools to create music, design album art, and tell their stories through digital marketing. 

This summer, students will also participate in career conversations and resume-building workshops, and spend time with industry experts at the Apple Music offices and Apple Retail location in Nashville. The program concludes with a showcase, where teams will have the opportunity to present their projects to a panel of industry judges, get constructive feedback to support their career development, and network with professional recording artists and industry executives.

"Harnessing the undeniable power of creativity and collaboration has enabled PROPEL Center and Apple to establish a nurturing and inspiring environment to cultivate the many talents of our HBCU students," said PROPEL Center President Dr. Lisa Herring. "This year's accelerator marks a continued commitment from Apple and our industry partners to help address equity and diversity gaps in the arts and entertainment industry and other critical business sectors." 

Apple's support for the PROPEL Center and the 2024 Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator is part of the company's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, a company-wide effort to expand opportunities for Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous communities around the world through education, economic empowerment, and criminal justice reform.

"Creativity is central to everything we do at Apple, and we're thrilled to help create more pathways into the arts and entertainment industries for HBCU students," said Alisha Johnson Wilder, Director of Apple's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative. "Through PROPEL Center's programming, we're helping expand opportunities for emerging creators from diverse backgrounds by ensuring these talented students have access to the technology, resources, and expertise they need to become leaders in the creative arts."

Each year, PROPEL Center convenes HBCU students from across the nation in both virtual and in-person learning opportunities through industry-specific panels, online courses offered on the PROPEL Learn app and other engagement opportunities with industry leaders. In addition to the Arts & Entertainment Industry Accelerator, PROPEL Center has also launched similar programs focused on agri-tech, health and cybersecurity. 

Since its inception in 2022, PROPEL Center's accelerator programs have provided a unique pathway for HBCU students seeking to refine their technical, visual, and storytelling abilities. Through hands-on and challenge-based learning experiences, the accelerator programs work to enhance student portfolios, expand industry-specific networks and open doors to competitive internships and job opportunities. 

Launched in 2023, PROPEL Learn is a learning and credentialing platform for HBCU students, which includes courses on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Swift Coding, and Arts & Entertainment.

To learn more about PROPEL Center and upcoming programming, visit and follow @propelcenter on social media channels.