(ATLANTA) September 29, 2022 – The PROPEL Center, the global HBCU technology and innovation hub committed to strengthening the Black talent pipeline, today announced the construction location for its new physical campus. This new site, 635 Atlanta Student Movement Blvd., is situated within the Atlanta University Center (AUC) at Parsons St. between Vine St. and Elm St. on the former site of The University Plaza Apartments–an area on Clark Atlanta University’s campus known as “The Birdcage.”
An approximately 5.2-acre site, the location holds special historical and cultural significance to the Black community given its proximity to the original location of Friendship Baptist Church and Flipper Temple A.M.E. Church, among other local African American institutions. The location also offers PROPEL a unique opportunity to build upon the legacy of the AUC through long-term leasing with Clark Atlanta University, providing options for future development on the property.
The PROPEL Center will support the entire HBCU community, which includes more than 100 colleges and universities, through a robust virtual platform accessible to all HBCU students and faculty. Founding partners Apple and Southern Company, along with strategic partner The Walt Disney Company, have each made major investments toward the development and launch of the PROPEL Center.
Conceived to provide innovative curricula, work-based learning experiences, advanced technology support and unprecedented career and leadership opportunities, the hub will further work to deliver an array of strategic resources, preparation and industry access across the Black collegiate community to support their work in producing the next generation of scholars who will champion equity, justice and entrepreneurship.
Among the available curriculum options at PROPEL will be agricultural technologies, augmented reality, social justice, health, arts & entertainment, and hospitality, and energy, along with career preparation and entrepreneurship tracks. Construction is scheduled to commence in early 2023.
“In just a year, PROPEL has co-developed programming with HBCUs that will inspire new curriculum and learning experiences in health, arts and entertainment and social justice,” stated PROPEL Interim CEO L. Waymond Jackson, Jr. “Once complete, the PROPEL Center will build upon those efforts by providing an innovative learning space for all HBCU students. We are excited for the PROPEL Center to be built on a site that has such historical significance as the Birdcage. This one-of-a-kind project creates a great opportunity for us to honor the past while also building a transformational experience that changes the future for HBCU students.”
“We’re proud to support the PROPEL Center’s mission to empower the next generation of Black scholars, innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “PROPEL’s new campus in the heart of Atlanta is well-positioned to create exciting opportunities for learning and collaboration within the HBCU community.”
“This is a thrilling and pivotal next step in the construction of the PROPEL Center’s physical campus in the heart of the Atlanta University Center,” said Thomas A. Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. “As a founding partner, we are honored for the opportunities to help forge change and make intentional investments that advance equity in education for the entire community of HBCU students.”
“Here at Clark Atlanta University, our leadership, faculty and students are humbled to be a partner in the launch of the PROPEL Center, and to have the opportunity to execute this long-term partnership," stated Dr. George T. French, Jr., president of CAU. "The progress of the PROPEL Center, and its journey to fruition, have been steady and rewarding to watch. We are proud to see this important next step being so boldly taken.”
“To witness the PROPEL Center’s vision being made a reality with this highly anticipated announcement is gratifying to the entire HBCU community," said Aaron Walton, president, Cheyney University. “As a proud partner and the first HBCU, we at Cheyney know well what it's like to be and celebrate a 'first,' and we're humbled to be a part of this innovative accelerator which will enhance the training, preparedness and futures of all HBCU students.”
“The PROPEL Center will impact my life tremendously as the SGA president at Kentucky State University. It’s very important for me and my fellow students to have unlimited mentoring opportunities—as well as hands-on learning experiences—from corporate leaders who will guide us in the right direction to succeed,” said Savion Briggs, a PROPEL student scholar. “The PROPEL Center does all of these things and much more while enabling my fellow students to build relationships with key corporate partners such as Apple and Southern Company, and other campus leaders at HBCUs.”
To learn more about the PROPEL Center, visit propelcenter.org. Also, tag us via social channels at: #IAMPROPEL.
About PROPEL Center
Supported by founding partners Apple and Southern Company, the Propel Center is a first-of-its-kind innovation and learning hub for the entire HBCU community that will serve as a catalytic epicenter of learning, providing students with the knowledge, skills, tools and resources necessary to transform the nation's talent pipeline and workforce. Through a robust virtual platform, on-campus activities at partner institutions and a physical campus located in the Atlanta University Center, PROPEL will bring innovative curricula and unprecedented leadership opportunities to produce the next generation of Black leaders.
Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple’s five software platforms — iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.
About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solutions our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and govern our business to the benefit of our world. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have been recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Defense, G.I. Jobs magazine, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, Forbes and the Women's Choice Award. To learn more, visit www.southerncompany.com.
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