Steve Wozniak wants to revolutionize tech education, starting in Arizona


Shelly Murphy, Exeter Education spokeswoman, talks about the Woz Accelerator, a school that will be based in Arizona that aims to develop the talent of “the best of the best.”

The Apple co-founder has launched Woz U, which aims to get students technology jobs quickly and affordably.

Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak announced Thursday the launch of a digital institute that aims to reprogram tech education and to inspire the next generation of innovators.

And he wants to do it from Arizona. It will be called Woz U.

The icon of innovation who helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products now wants to revamp the education process and address the skill gap for high-paying technology jobs across the country.

“Our goal is to educate and train people in employable digital skills without putting them into years of debt,” Wozniak said. “People are often afraid to choose a technology-based career because they think they can’t do it. I know they can, and I want to show them how.”

Woz U, with its corporate headquarters in Arizona, launched its online curriculum Thursday. The company plans in 2018 to expand into physical campuses, called Woz Academy, in more than 30 cities across the country and around the world.

No details about locations for the potential campuses were announced at the Thursday event, which was hosted by DesTechAZ and AZ Tech Summit.

Arizona-based Woz U launched its online curriculum Thursday. (Photo: OH Partner)

Arizona also is projected in 2019 to become home to the Woz Accelerator, which he described as a “different kind of school” to develop the “elite tech talent” of young innovators. The immersive program, which will range from 12 to 16 months, will offer fully paid internship programs around the world.

The exact location in the state has not been decided, according to Shelly Murphy, a spokeswoman with Exeter Education, which is leading the project.

The Woz U website says it was “inspired by Steve Wozniak.” His day-to-day role is unclear. He didn’t provide details during Thursday’s Q&A session.

Woz U is part of Southern Careers Institute,a private, for-profit technical and trade school in Texas, and will look to partner with other colleges and institutions as it grows, according to the Woz U website.


Woz U, a 33-week higher-education program, is designed to get students into the workforce quickly and affordably, said Wozniak, who said he hopes to launch a second digital “revolution.”

Arizona has positioned itself as the next technology metropolis, said Brent Richardson, a former Grand Canyon University chief executive and current Woz U board chairman.

Those in the ballroom at Camelback Inn to hear the “Woz” included  U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Gov. Doug Ducey and his chief of staff, Kirk Adams, and business and tech leaders from across the state and country. 


Steve Wozniak. (Photo: OH Partner)

The currently available online curriculum offers training for computer-support specialists and software developers. Down the line, Wozniak said, data-science, mobile-application and cybersecurity programs will be available.

Woz U also has built a mobile app to help match people with the technology-based career best suited for them.

Woz U also will provide school districts with K-12 science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM, projects to expose students to digital-engineering concepts at a young age and to inspire them toward possible careers in technology.

Wozniak has for decades been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures. A longtime focus has been technology in education and stressing hands-on learning for students. He took a leave from Apple to teach computer classes in the Los Gatos, California, school district, where he provided computers and Internet for the area.


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