EXCLUSIVE: Apple CEO Tim Cook makes push to help women get tech jobs

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In a story you'll see only on ABC7News.com, a large crowd gathered outside San Francisco's Moscone Center Sunday for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

Most of the developers descending for Monday's Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference are men, but Apple is putting down $50 million to change that hoping to educate more women and minorities.

Of the 5,000 people who will hear Apple CEO Tim Cook's keynote speech, he is especially happy to welcome 350 young scholarship winners. It is part of Apple's commitment is to develop a more inclusive work force.

RAW VIDEO: Rare one-on-one interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook


Cook sat down for an exclusive interview with ABC7 News to explain why they want to strategically expand their workforce. He said, "The more people you get thinking about something that come at things from a different point of view, you wind up with a much better product that way."

Some of the students and young developers have already created apps such as a chess game and another game called COLOR5.

Harshita Gupta, a senior at Fremont's Mission San Jose High School, developed an app to access stories from the school paper. She can't wait to network and to attend workshops in the days ahead. "Meeting new people is definitely a big part of it. I'm not going to be afraid of asking questions and seeming stupid because I think that's the point of being here," she said.

Cook was especially impressed by one young woman. "We just met somebody that's 12 years old that already has two apps in the app store. This is pretty amazing," he said.

Kiera Cawley, 12, has been coding since she was 9 years old. She doesn't perceive any barriers holding her back. "Everyone I meet is always really encouraging and nobody has ever said, 'Oh, you can't do it because you're a girl,"' she said.

The organizations Apple is supporting to get more women in technology believe inclusion is critical.

"If you look at all the groups that are largely left out of technology, out of the technology workforce, it's about 70 percent of the population, women, underrepresented minorities, and people with disabilities," National Center for Women and Information Technology spokesperson Ruthe Farmer said.

Cook is a rock star to these ambitious students. He made a surprise visit at an orientation session and was quickly surrounded by selfie seekers. He expects some of them to be future leaders at Apple.

"If you look at things over a five or 10 year period, I think there could be a sea change in that kind of time frame. I really do," he said.
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