Supporting Education: AT&T Aspire

Materiality Assessment Topic: Education; Giving & philanthropy | Global Reporting Initiative Indicators: EC8, SO1

Issue Summary

Currently, one out of five students—and about 30 percent of African American and 25 percent of Hispanic students —fail to graduate with their class. Students between 16-24 who are neither in school nor working are costing taxpayers $93 billion. annually. 1

Our Position

The sheer nature of what we do as a business is driving change in every part of society. AT&T and the AT&T Foundation support programs, projects and social investments that help to make a transformational impact on learning.

AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative, focusing on school success and workforce readiness. To help students everywhere prepare for success tomorrow, we are investing in innovative education organizations, tools and solutions, and employing technology and capabilities that are unique to AT&T. We aspire to help students succeed, strengthen schools and communities, and widen the talent pipeline. Education has been our priority for more than a century; through Aspire, we have committed to investing $350 million to education through 2017. We are investing in students today– at home, in the classroom, at work – to prepare them for success for tomorrow.


Data Highlights

2013 Key Performance Indicators
  • Amount contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs:

Priority

Arts & Culture

Civic & Community

Education

Health & Welfare

Total

Total

$7.8M

$19.4M

$64M

$38.9M

>$130M

  • Amount invested toward $250 million planned investment over five years (2012-2017) for AT&T Aspire: more than $94.6M
  • Number of mentoring hours toward the goal to provide students 1 million hours of mentoring by our employees through the end of 2016: 339,009
  • Amount of employee giving through Employee Giving Campaign: >$35M
2013 Goals
2013 Progress Toward Goals

Invest an additional $250 million planned over five years to drive innovation in education, support effective local programs and create collective impact through collaboration with AT&T business units, national partners, employees and customers to ensure that more students who are at risk of dropping out graduate from high school prepared for college and career.

We’ve invested $94,688,889 since March 2012. Of that:

  • 66 percent went toward programs focused on local impact,
  • 15 percent went toward programs focused on social innovation,
  • 8 percent went toward programs focused on connecting people,
  • 11 percent went toward other efforts such as research and evaluation.

Program highlights include:

  • Teaming up with Georgia Tech and Udacity to offer the first fully accredited, massive Online Master of Science in Computer Science, supported by a $2 million contribution.
  • Supporting Communities In Schools (CIS) – the nation’s leading dropout prevention program according to Social Impact 100 – with $7 million to strengthen its network and expand to serve more students.
  • Committing $5 million to America’s Promise Alliance as the premier supporter of 100 Grad Nation community summits, starting in fall 2013 and lasting through 2016.

The newly launched Aspire Mentoring Academy will engage students who are at risk of dropping out of high school with 1 million hours of mentoring by AT&T employees through the end of 2016.

As of year-end 2013, students received 339,009 hours of mentoring by AT&T employees through Aspire Mentoring Academy, putting us on track to achieve our 2016 goal.

2014 Goals
  • Invest an additional $250 million planned by 2017 to drive innovation in education, support effective local programs and create collective impact through collaboration with AT&T business units, national partners, employees and customers to ensure that more students who are at risk of dropping out graduate from high school prepared for college and career.
  • Additionally, as part of the White House ConnectED initiative, provide $100 million of free mobile broadband access to educational websites, applications and services, and professional development to help middle-school students and their teachers, over a three-year period through 2016.2
  • The Aspire Mentoring Academy will engage students who are at risk of dropping out of high school with 1 million hours of mentoring by AT&T employees through the end of 2016.

Our Action

Aspire has been a force for change in the corporate philanthropic industry, and AT&T is proud of the program’s accomplishments: we’ve impacted more than 1 million students in all 50 states and improved for more than 1,000 high performing organizations.  AT&T’s commitment and investment support the Grad Nation movement’s goal to achieve a national graduation rate of 90 percent by 2020. Progress is being made through the collective efforts of the Grad Nation campaign. Since 2006, the overall average graduation rate has increased from 73 percent to 81 percent as measured by 2012 Averaged Freshman Graduation Rates (AFGR).3 For the second year in a row, our nation is on track to meet the national goal.

The sheer nature of what AT&T does as a business is driving change in every part of society.  AT&T Aspire engages AT&T’s network, mobile and cloud technologies, our employees and our partners to make a transformational impact on learning. We aspire to:

In 2013, Aspire focused on:

  • Remove barriers to academic success and career growth, and help all students — regardless of age, gender, income or zip code — make their biggest dreams a reality.
  • Spark innovation and empower students, educators and caregivers to use new technologies for personal, career and community growth.
  • Create connected educational communities, both virtual and real, that can guide us to create products and services that work for them. 
  • Build a viable, creative and adaptive workforce that is prepared to face the changing needs of employers and customers.

Investing Locally in organizations making a measureable difference in stemming the high school dropout crisis:

  • In 2012 through the Aspire Local Impact request for proposal (RFP), 47 schools and nonprofits were selected from thousands nationwide to share in nearly $10 million from AT&T. In 2013, these organizations were in year two of the funded programs. Applicants were evaluated based on their alignment with evidenced-based approaches, their accomplishments in serving students at risk of dropping out of high school and their ability to use data to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work.
  • AT&T has signed on to be the premier presenter of 100 Grad Nation community summits coordinated by America’s Promise Alliance, which launched in fall 2013 and will take place through 2016.
  • AT&T provided a $1 million contribution to Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) to maintain and expand programs for students in 18 states.
  • AT&T supported Communities In Schools (CIS) with a $2 million contribution to boost the impact and sustainability of the entire CIS network. This support includes building the corps of CIS Site Coordinators by extending AT&T support in 13 communities. 
  • AT&T contributed an additional $5 million to CIS to support local programs through the Diplomas NOW program, continued building our partnership with CIS in Aspire Mentoring Academy and developed a national framework for local affiliates to ensure quality in the delivery of their services through measurement.
  • Roadtrip Nation (RTN), an organization that creates innovative career exploration resources to help students explore pathways aligned with their interests, received $1 million in total from AT&T and the AT&T Foundation. With this new funding, RTN will extend its program offerings to 10,000 more students in six states.

Connecting People through our employees and customers:

  • Through AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy, we are committing our most valuable resource – our employees – to a goal of 1 million hours of mentoring by the end of 2016. Aspire Mentoring Academy engages AT&T employees to mentor underserved middle and high school students. Our goal is to encourage students to successfully complete high school and go on to college or career by providing them mentoring in critical 21st-century work skills, academic support, and connecting the importance of learning in the classroom to their future.

Seeking Exponential Change through national partnerships and technology and innovation:

  • AT&T is collaborating with Georgia Tech and Udacity Inc. to offer an online Master of Science degree in computer science. The degree can be earned completely through the massive open online course (MOOC) format, and is supported by a $2 million AT&T contribution to Georgia Tech to fund the program.
  • We worked with the AT&T Foundry innovation centers — which offer an inventive business approach to bringing entrepreneurs’ market-disrupting technologies to life — to host Aspire hackathons in cities across the country.
  • AT&T teamed up with Genesys Works, a Houston-based nonprofit, to expand a proven program that gives high school seniors at risk of dropping out of school the opportunity to work and thrive in a corporate environment and succeed in college and careers.
  • GameDesk, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that aims to revolutionize learning, is teaming up with AT&T to launch its new online portal: educade.org. EduCade is a revolutionary educational web platform funded by AT&T that provides students, educators and parents nationwide free access to fun, high quality digital learning games and technologies to help improve student success.

In 2014, our work has continued to progress, as we’ve focused on innovative ways to prepare students for success in school and the 21st century workforce. This year, AT&T joined with Udacity to create “nanodegrees,” a new category of online education that connects people wherever they are with affordable, effective training focused on high-demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. The first three nanodegrees will be available fall 2014 in the Massive Open Online Course format, and will concentrate on entry-level software skills.

AT&T and Udacity launched the nanodegree program to help give all people — regardless of age, gender, income or zip code — access to affordable credentials that will be recognized by employers as they move forward in their professional careers. An AT&T- Udacity scholarship program will encourage diverse student participation, and AT&T will offer 100 paid internships for nanodegree graduates.

Some of the organizations with which we work include:

  • Alliance for Excellent Education
  • America's Promise Alliance
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • Civic Enterprises
  • Communities in Schools
  • Curriki
  • Data Quality Campaign
  • GameDesk
  • Genesys Works
  • Girl Scouts of the USA
  • Jobs for America’s Graduates
  • Junior Achievement USA
  • Roadtrip Nation

Through Aspire, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation will continue to work together with educators, parents, organizations and government to be a catalyst for change on the high school dropout crisis issue.

To learn more about our AT&T Aspire initiative, visit www.att.com/aspire.

ConnectED Commitment

In February 2014, AT&T announced a $100 million, three-year commitment to provide free mobile broadband access to educational websites, applications and services, and professional development to help middle school students and their teachers. AT&T’s mobile broadband service will enable students to use tablets and other mobile devices for educational purposes that support student learning in new and more effective ways. The commitment supports President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative, which has the goal of bringing broadband connectivity to 99 percent of American students within five years. The efforts are contingent on FCC e-rate compliance requirements, and federal, state, and municipal procurement frameworks that will not prohibit or extend these types of initiatives. Eligible school locations will be subject to network congestion, availability, and performance criteria. To learn more visit about.att.com/ConnectEd.


1Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance, Building a Grad Nation Report Update 2014

2ConnectED efforts are contingent on FCC e-rate compliance requirements, and federal, state, and municipal procurement frameworks that will not prohibit or extend these types of initiatives. Eligible school locations will be subject to network congestion, availability, and performance criteria.

3Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance, Building a Grad Nation Report Update 2014

Updated on: Sep 10, 2014

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