Apple has its manufacturing partners create classrooms where factory workers can take free classes in skills like personal finance and English.
These classes for factory workers also teach fun skills, such as calligraphy and graphic design, Apple revealed in its annual supplier report published on Wednesday.
The worker in the photo doing calligraphy works for Foxconn, Apple’s primary assembly partner.
Over 558,000 employees at Apple partners took Supplier Employee Education and Development classes in 2015. Here’s how Apple describes the program:
We set up classrooms in supplier facilities where workers can take free courses in subjects as diverse as computer skills, graphic design, English, and human resources management. Each classroom is equipped with Mac computers and video conferencing capabilities, and we provide iPad devices loaded with classes similar to those offered through SEED. We also offer short courses and quizzes on mobile devices related to job function, life skills, and financial literacy.
In the report, Apple relays the story of a current Apple employee named Carl Yang, who started as a factory worker in eastern China before he started taking SEED classes. Apple was so impressed by Yang’s performance that it hired him to be a SEED administrator, working in Apple’s HR department.
In Apple’s 2015 report, COO Jeff Williams wrote that Apple maintains 48 SEED classrooms across 23 facilities, although Apple didn’t mention how many of them offer calligraphy classes.
While calligraphy might seem like a odd pursuit for iPhone assemblers, it’s a widely practiced art form in China. In addition, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs often spoke glowingly of a calligraphy class he took during his college years, which he credited for helping him design fonts for the Macintosh computer.
Studies have even shown that Chinese calligraphy relieves stress — which is critical because the average Apple factory worker puts in 55 hours per week on average.