Which came first, the highly skilled workforce or the businesses that provide better-paying jobs?
That's the question Amarillo College officials hope to help answer.
The community college is partnering with Apple Inc., to help its students become even more knowledgeable and marketable in the ever-changing technological world. Last week, the school announced it would be teaching students a leading app-development program called Swift.
Apple's Swift is a popular programming language used worldwide. Future AC students will learn how to write computer codes and design their own apps, which are invaluable job skills in information technology and software development.
"Hopefully, Apple is such a good name that we will be able to draw students to the program," said Carol Buse, the school's dean of STEM. "We need to bring coding to Amarillo."
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
"There is such a demand for coding right now, and Amarillo is losing out," Buse added.
The strategy, as with many programs offered at the community college level, is to educate future employees and show prospective employers that if they relocated to the area or expanded their operations they would have an extremely proficient workforce in place.
Buse said community colleges have to continually keep changing because skills to be productive workers are always changing.
"We have to stay ahead of the curve," said said.
Amarillo College will join a few other Texas community colleges, such as Austin College and the Houston Community College System, in offering Apple's app-development curriculum, according an AC news release.
Swift is Apple’s programming language that allows coders to easily create mobile app software. Websites such as Airbnb, Kayak, Linkedin, Pandora, Tumblr, Venmo, the Weather Channel and Yelp use Swift to create apps.
AC’s Board of Regents unanimously approved the partnership with Apple last week, along with the requisite purchase of $55,000 worth of Apple products -- MacBook Pros, iPads and iPad Touches.
The "Amarillo College Can Code" program will let students pursue credentials at AC that are stackable, which means credit hours earned can be applied to each subsequent level of the curriculum, according to the news release.
Buse said AC is also hoping to partner with area high schools to offer their students a dual-credit-type program.
"We will start those conversations pretty quickly," she said.