Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz welcomed Monday’s announcement from tech giant Apple that it will build a new campus and engineering hub in the Research Triangle Park. The creator of the iPhone and Macintosh computers will be investing more than $1 billion in the state and creating at least 3,000 new jobs in machine learning, artificial intelligence, software engineering and other cutting-edge fields.
Apple estimates that, once up and running, the company’s investments will generate over $1.5 billion in economic benefits annually for North Carolina.
“This announcement aligns perfectly with our two-year planning for the launch of our new data science initiative, which will be formally announced in the coming weeks,” Guskiewicz said. “Carolina will play an important role in preparing the workforce for Apple as a leading global public research university and will partner with Apple through strategic research initiatives.”
One of the leaders of Carolina’s data science initiative, Dean Gary Marchionini of the School of Information and Library Science, also expressed his pleasure that another major IT leader is coming to the region. “Apple’s presence will provide exciting opportunities to our students and graduates and help attract other industries and talent to North Carolina,” he said. “Carolina is proud to educate critical thinkers and problem solvers who are facile with advanced data and computational skills. These qualities and training will enable our alumni to become informed leaders of major innovators like Apple.”
Like computer pioneer IBM did in 1965, Apple has decided to set up shop in Research Triangle Park, a location bounded by the Triangle’s three major research universities: Carolina, NC State University in Raleigh and Duke University in Durham.
“Some of what attracts companies like Apple to our region are our great universities and the fact that our state government leaders support higher education in North Carolina to prepare the next generation of leaders and help drive the state’s economy,” Guskiewicz said. “We are grateful for their support.”
Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalick of the School of Education concurred. “Apple’s decision to come to North Carolina and the Research Triangle Park speaks to the power of education as an economic force. North Carolina’s longstanding commitment to education laid a foundation that made it clear for Apple that this is where they should build,” Abd-El-Khalick said.
As part of its investment in the state, Apple will also establish a $100 million fund to support schools and community initiatives and will be contributing over $110 million in infrastructure spending to the 80 North Carolina counties with the greatest need — funds that will go toward broadband, roads and bridges, and public schools.
“I’m heartened to see that Apple will join in efforts to support education in our communities of greatest need. The pandemic exposed for all to see the need to establish more resilient infrastructure — including broadband access — so that all children have access to learning opportunities,” Abd-El-Khalick said. “We have clear needs for more support for education at all levels in North Carolina. I hope that Apple’s contributions will energize our state to deploy additional support for all our students, schools and universities, and our aspirations to lead as a state in the knowledge-based economy.”
Guskiewicz expressed the hope Apple can be part of the Carolina Across 100 initiative, the five-year statewide economic development project announced by the University in March.
“Apple’s presence here and their commitment to assisting these rural communities is one way I see us partnering with them in our Carolina Across 100 initiative,” Guskiewicz said. “It’s going to touch every county across the state.”