The Broader Horizons program exposes students who are struggling academically to college and career opportunities through mentorship. This is an important component of the Reconnecting McDowell initiative, which is working to make educational improvements to McDowell County, West Virginia, to give the county a brighter economic future. Earlier this year, AT&T committed resources to Broader Horizons and last month we had the extraordinary opportunity to meet the first 20 students participating in this program.
On June 25, a lively group of eager and motivated students joined me and my colleagues at AT&T’s Innovation Center to learn about possible career paths available to them in the technology industry, as well as the doors that can be opened through strong STEM skills. In addition to these career discussions, students enjoyed a hands-on tour of some of the tangible products that can be created by having these skills. The ability to ride in the “connected car” and turn the lights on in our “digital home” through a typical mobile device brought years of research and development into common, everyday life. The students quickly observed that technology is woven into everything around us, and therefore a little bit more interesting! It was a great day and my colleagues and I were impressed by the depth of interest these students had in the program. Their questions were impressive and their life dreams they shared with us were incredible.
These programs, along with the AT&T Aspire initiative, are part of the fabric of AT&T.
Events like this one are what inspire my company to do the work we do through AT&T Aspire. As a $350 million commitment to education, our Aspire initiative has touched the lives of many, including the 20 students I had the pleasure to meet last month. However, these programs are not dollars and cents commitments for AT&T. They are deep, long-lasting commitments that rely on engagement, passion and a desire to be a part of creating an educational environment that prepares students for 21st century opportunities. These programs, along with the AT&T Aspire initiative, are part of the fabric of AT&T. We truly believe in the power one person can have on the life of a child, which is why I am happy to be a part of our Aspire Mentoring Academy and to have been a part of our commitment to Broader Horizons.
As I walked around the event last month, a student came to me and my colleagues to thank us for the opportunity AT&T had provided through the Broader Horizons program. It warmed my heart, but I truly wanted to thank her because it is students like her – those eagerly embracing their future –who will be the next generation of leaders and, most importantly, mentors for people in their lives.