Supporting Education: AT&T Aspire

Materiality Assessment Topic: Education; Giving & philanthropy | Global Reporting Initiative G4 Indicators: EC7, 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 our company’s signature education initiative, focusing on high school success and career readiness. To help students everywhere prepare for success tomorrow, we are investing in innovative and effective 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 plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017. We are investing in students today — at home, in the classroom, at work — to prepare them for success for tomorrow.


Data Highlights

2014 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

$4.9M

$21.5M

$68.9M

$31.6M

$126.9M

  • Amount invested toward $250 million planned investment over five years (March 2012-March 2017) for AT&T Aspire: $153.3M
  • Number of mentoring hours toward the goal to provide students 1 million hours of mentoring by our employees through the end of 2016: 715,000
  • Amount of employee giving through Employee Giving Campaign: >$36.4M
2014 Goals
2014 Progress Toward 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.
  • We have invested $153.3 million since March 2012. Program highlights include:
    • Working with Udacity to launch Nanodegree programs, new educational online pathways to industry-relevant skills, to prepare more people with the skills needed for high-demand tech jobs requiring technological expertise. Nanodegree courses are online, self-paced and taught by leaders in tech, with personalized coaches.
    • Teaming 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.
    • Supporting Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors, with a $1 million contribution to expand its Summer Immersion Program and Girls Who Code clubs to additional cities across the country.
    • AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson joined President Obama at a White House event in July 2014 to commit $18 million to education programs with a mentoring component.
    • Selecting 30 organizations across the country to share in nearly $12.5 million to strengthen and expand their evidence-based programs that help students graduate from high school prepared for college and a career.

  • In 2014, AT&T committed — as part of the White House’s ConnectED initiative — to provide $100 million of free mobile broadband connectivity for mobile learning to more than 50,000 students. During 2014, more than 35 employees from six business units across AT&T invested roughly 35,000 hours in this project. We created a new education platform that includes high-speed LTE network access for tablets, content filtering for students and easier deployment and management software for schools. We designed this solution in-house and brought it to fruition through our Chief Technology Organization. In 2015, AT&T and the White House will announce recipient school districts that will benefit from this $100 million commitment.
  • Between September 2012 and year-end 2014, students have received more than 715,000 hours of mentoring by AT&T employees through Aspire Mentoring Academy, keeping us on track to achieve our 2016 goal.

Our Action

Aspire brings together AT&T employees, nonprofits and community members to help equip students with the skills they need to lead the digital, global economy. AT&T is investing in innovative and effective education organizations, tools and solutions and employing technology and capabilities that are unique to our company to make a positive impact on education.

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:

  • 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.

In 2014, Aspire focused on:

Mobilizing Learning

Technology is fundamentally altering education by removing barriers so that all – regardless of age, gender, income or zip code – can have the opportunity to make their dreams a reality. We are collaborating with schools like the Momentous Institute to bring technology into the classroom, and we are investing in initiatives such as ConnectED to bring Internet connectivity and educational resources to more students across America:

  • We are working with the Momentous Institute in Dallas to develop new educational and social-emotional applications and curriculum. By enhancing connectivity and putting tablets in the hands of every student and teacher, we are bringing new opportunities to students, teachers and administrators. We are collaborating on custom educational software that teachers can use to deliver one-to-one instruction; for instance, we are working with education leaders to release three iOS and Android apps in spring 2015 designed to help students manage their social-emotional health.
  • As part of the White House ConnectED initiative, AT&T committed to provide 50,000 students in Title 1 schools with $100 million of free mobile broadband access for educational devices, mobile device management, network filtering and teacher professional development for three years.3 Eligible school locations will be announced in 2015. To learn more visit our website on ConnectED.

Powering Career Skills

The tech industry needs a capable and diverse pipeline of employees to fuel 21st century jobs, but the need is currently outpacing supply. To power the global economy, we need to bridge the skills gap and build a diverse talent pipeline for the jobs of today and the future:

  • To prepare more people with the skills needed for high-demand tech jobs requiring technological expertise, we are teaming up with education technology leader Udacity to launch Nanodegrees programs — new educational online pathways to industry-relevant skills. Nanodegree courses are online, self-paced and taught by leaders in tech, with personalized coaches. The Nanodegree programs will be fully recognized for entry-level jobs at AT&T, and up to 100 graduates will be placed in paid internships at AT&T. Together with Udacity, we are also providing scholarships to students through several leading nonprofit organizations.
  • 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 multi-million dollar AT&T contribution to fund the program. As of March 2015 more than 2670 students (including 210 AT&T employees) have enrolled in the degree program, which offers 13 different courses.
  • Roadtrip Nation (RTN), an organization that creates innovative career exploration resources to help students explore pathways aligned with their interests, received $1.5 million from AT&T. With this new funding, RTN will extend its program offerings to 15,000 students at risk of dropping out across 10 states.
  • AT&T is teaming 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.
    • More than 80 percent of Genesys Works students are from low-income households, and many represent the “quiet middle” — “B” or “C” students who may require additional supports to realize their full potential.
    • More than 95 percent of Genesys Works interns enroll in college. Nearly 86 percent persist in higher education after their freshman year.
  • In 2014, AT&T made a $1 million contribution to Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors. AT&T’s contribution will help Girls Who Code expand its Summer Immersion Program and Girls Who Code clubs to additional cities across the country, offering more young women access to computer science courses and technology.

Making Connections

When mentors connect to young people, both are changed for the better. More than 1 in 3 students at risk of not graduating from high school grow up without an adult mentor in their life.4 AT&T Aspire seeks to improve that statistic by providing young people across the country with mentoring by AT&T employees. Through Aspire Mentoring Academy, we have set a goal to provide 1 million hours of student mentoring by AT&T employees by the end of 2016. As of year-end 2014 we are more than half way towards that goal, mentoring more than 715,000 hours with more than 100,000 students.

In addition to our 1 million hour goal with Aspire Mentoring Academy, Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson joined President Obama at a White House event in July 2014 to commit $18 million to education programs with a mentoring component. The event was in conjunction with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which aims to place caring adults in the lives of young people to help them succeed in academics, life decisions and careers.

Aspire Mentoring Academy events take place at AT&T work locations, online and in the community. We collaborate with nonprofit education groups to connect students to mentors, provide opportunities to learn life skills about diverse career paths and ultimately understand how what mentees are learning today connects to their success tomorrow. Some of our non-profit collaborators include:

Supporting What Works

AT&T Aspire has been a force for change in corporate philanthropy, and we’re proud of the program’s accomplishments: we’ve impacted more than 1 million students in all 50 states and supported more than 1,000 high-performing organizations.

Now for the first time, the country has exceeded an 80 percent on-time graduation rate and is on track to meet the Grad Nation Campaign goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020.5 AT&T Aspire is proud to be a lead supporter of the Grad Nation Campaign and to work with many successful education organizations across the country, meeting the unique needs of students in their communities.

  • In 2014, AT&T contributed nearly $12.5 million to 30 organizations that serve 28,000 high school students across the country to strengthen and expand their programs. These evidence-based programs help students graduate from high school prepared for college and a career. Through a competitive process, these school districts and non-profits were selected from more than 1,100 applicants nationwide. Each of the winning programs delivered a quantitative impact and featured proven methods of helping students succeed in academics and careers, such as providing integrated services, mentoring or focusing on college or career preparation.
  • In 2012, AT&T Aspire committed $10 million to 47 schools and nonprofits to increase graduation and attendance rates and reduce behavioral and disciplinary problems. Preliminary results from a third party evaluation of the 2012 recipients show that 9th, 10th and 11th grade students who participated in these programs were significantly more likely to end up on-track to graduate than a similarly situated peer group.
  • AT&T is 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 contributed $1.7 million to Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to expand its successful BE GREAT: Graduate program. This initiative helps students during their transition to high school and, with AT&T’s contribution, expanded to include a 9th grade cohort program. The support also enables more opportunities for students to work with AT&T employee mentors through Aspire Mentoring Academy.

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

Philanthropy management at AT&T

Philanthropic giving at AT&T includes both corporate contributions as approved by the AT&T Contributions Council and grants as approved by the AT&T Foundation. Members of the AT&T Contribution Council are appointed by the Chairman and CEO. Oversight of policy for philanthropic giving by AT&T is provided by the AT&T Public Policy and Corporate Reputation Committee. For more information on governance of our philanthropy, please visit our philanthropy policy.

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.

3ibid

4http://www.mentoring.org/mentoringeffect

5Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance, Building a Grad Nation Report Update 2014

Updated on: Aug 28, 2015

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