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Supporting Education: AT&T Aspire

Materiality Assessment Topics: Investing in education/high-tech skills development, Philanthropy and employee volunteering | Global Reporting Initiative Standard Disclosures: GRI 404-3, GRI 203-1, GRI 203-2, GRI 413-1, Investing in education/high-tech skills development MA

Issue Summary

Currently, 1 out of 6 students overall fail to graduate with their class. And many of those who do are not properly prepared to continue their education or to succeed in the workplace. At the same time, the tech industry needs a qualified, robust and diverse talent pipeline to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow in order to compete in the global economy. AT&T believes companies have an obligation to help students graduate from school and make sure they are prepared to meet the needs of the future workforce.

Our Position

At AT&T, we are using the power of our network to build a better tomorrow. Education has been our priority for more than a century. Through our signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, AT&T helps provide access to the education and training people need to get and keep good jobs.

Data Highlights

2017 Key Performance Indicators
  • Amount contributed or directed to education through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs: $86.4M
2020/2025 Goals
  • 2020 Goal: We will invest resources, develop initiatives and collaborate with stakeholders with the goal of increasing the U.S. high school graduation rate to 90% by 2020.1
  • 2025 GoalWe will invest resources, develop initiatives and collaborate with stakeholders to close the skills gap by increasing the number of Americans with high-quality post-secondary degrees or credentials to 60% by 2025.2

Learn more about our 2020/2025 Goals.

Targets to our 2020/2025 Goals
         In Progress

2018 Target: Invest in programs that provide access to the education and training people need to get and keep good jobs, use technology to address education challenges and help students get through high school and beyond.

  • PROGRESS: We exceeded our commitment through Aspire to invest $400 million by the end of 2017 with investments totaling more than $450 million. Program highlights included:
    • Contributing $2.25 million to Khan Academy to launch LearnStorm, a national learning challenge designed to equip students with the skills and mindsets they need to start the school year strong.
    • Contributing $300,000 to Per Scholas to support national technology training programs that serve more than 1,000 low‑income, unemployed/underemployed individuals.
    • Supporting organizations that help underrepresented students develop computer science and coding skills, including a $1.2 million contribution to Girls Who Code.
    • Contributing $2.5 million to help Communities In Schools (CIS) serve thousands of additional students, provide college and career readiness and mentoring by AT&T employees, and continue CIS’ advancements in data collection, technology, research and evaluation.
    • Contributing $3.5 million to Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) to allow the national non-profit to add new schools and/or expand existing programs through its 34 JAG state affiliates with proven success records of keeping kids in school.

2020 Target: Encourage technology applications to solve vexing education challenges through the Aspire Accelerator for non-profits and for-profits.

  • PROGRESS: In 2017, AT&T selected 8 organizations for the 3rd Aspire Accelerator class to support with a customized program that includes financial investment, access to expert services and mentorship. The 19 participants from the first 3 classes have thrived in the program and together have reached more than 12.2 million students.

2025 Target: By the end of 2017, promote STEM training by co-developing and attracting 10,000 students to the Georgia Tech online master’s degree in computer science program and 23,000 students to the Udacity Nanodegree program.

  • PROGRESS: As of the end of 2017, more than 30,000 learners are enrolled in nanodegree programs sponsored by AT&T, more than 2,000 of whom are AT&T employees. These learners are earning credentials that propel them to the next stage in their careers.
  • Additionally, as of Fall 2017, nearly 6,000 students—including 400 AT&T employees—were enrolled in the Georgia Tech online computer science program—a more than 10-fold increase since the program launched in 2014.

Our Action

AT&T invests in education and job training to create a skilled and diverse workforce that helps prepare our company—and our country—for the future. Through the AT&T Aspire initiative, AT&T helps provide access to the education and training people need to get and keep good jobs. Since 2008, we’ve committed more than $450 million to programs that help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world. Our employees mentor students across the country to help them discover their career passions and potential.

  • We support programs that prepare people for careers in technology, media and telecommunications.
  • We support programs that have demonstrated success in increasing our nation’s high school graduation rate.
  • We support innovative tech solutions from our employees and our collaborators to tackle the challenges facing teachers, learners and the education system.

Through Aspire, we are measuring success by tracking positive outcomes of our investments as well as the number of teachers and students impacted. Examples of these measurements are included below.

Innovating Education

Technology is making it easier for everyone—regardless of age, gender, income or geography—to learn anytime, anywhere. Through Aspire, we’re investing in tools to spark and scale new learning innovation.

  • We’ve graduated 3 classes of organizations from the Aspire Accelerator. The Aspire Accelerator’s mission is to support innovations that have the potential to help every student achieve a bright, successful future—exponentially and at scale. In 2017, 8 innovative ed-tech startups were chosen to receive a financial investment, mentorship and access to expert services from AT&T and others. Across the 3 classes, the 19 participants have reached more than 12.2 million students and attracted more than $18.3 million in additional funding.
  • We’ve contributed $2.25 million to Khan Academy to launch LearnStorm, a national learning challenge designed to equip students with the skills and mindsets they need to start the school year strong. LearnStorm combines Khan Academy’s thousands of free, standards-aligned exercises with new, limited-time-only incentives to engage, celebrate and reward every student—no matter their level. The initiative reached nearly 1 million students, 23,000 teachers, 13,000 schools and encouraged 90 million minutes of learning.
  • In Latin America, ESCUELA+ continues to be the most advanced and complete TV education program deployed in schools. Approximately 80% of the schools in the program are rural schools, which also makes the program one of the most active in bridging the digital divide. As a catalyst for positive change in primary and secondary education, we work in collaboration with private companies, government departments of education and other stakeholders to positively transform the classroom experience. The program combines deployment of: technology; partner educational content and support materials; innovative audio/visual classroom methodology; specialized customer service; and ongoing communication and engagement. By year-end 2017, ESCUELA+ impacted:
    • 8,816 schools in 8 countries
    • 15,000+ teachers trained in person with 65,000+ trained in total
    • 2 million+ students
    • 250+ employee volunteers in Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela
    • 600+ hours of in-person teacher training through 100+ activities
    • 500+ pedagogical support materials
    • 1 dedicated ESCUELA+ channel to broadcast original, partner and ministry of education content

Powering Careers

AT&T invests in education and job training to create a skilled and diverse workforce that helps prepare our company—and our country—for the future.

  • To prepare more people with the skills needed for high-demand tech jobs that require technological expertise, we are teaming up with education-technology leader Udacity on nanodegree programs: online educational pathways to industry-relevant skills. Nanodegree courses are online, self-paced and taught by leaders in tech, with personalized coaches. More than 30,000 learners worldwide, including more than 2,000 AT&T employees, are enrolled in various nanodegree credentialing courses; as of Fall 2017, more than 700 AT&T employees have earned a credential.
  • AT&T is collaborating with Georgia Tech and Udacity 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 multimillion-dollar AT&T contribution to fund the programs.
    • As of Fall 2017, nearly 6,000 students have enrolled in the Georgia Tech online Master of Science in computer science—a more than fold increase since the program launched in 2014. More than 400 AT&T employees have enrolled and the program has produced more than 500 graduates, including nearly 50 AT&T employees.
  • In 2017, AT&T contributed $300,000 to Per Scholas to support national technology training programs that serve more than 1,000 low-income, unemployed/underemployed individuals. The funding will support the growth of Per Scholas’ national IT training program as well as a new collaboration with General Assembly called CodeBridge, which prepares graduates for mid-skill IT and web development positions.
  • AT&T supports organizations that help underrepresented students develop computer science and coding skills. This includes:
    • In 2017, AT&T contributed $365,000 to All Star Code (ASC), a youth education program connecting high school boys of color to the tech industry. ASC prepares these young men for careers in the technology industry by providing mentorship, industry exposure and intensive training in computer science.
      • A $1.2 million contribution to Girls Who Code to support the expansion of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program and Clubs Program.
      • A $350,000 contribution to Black Girls CODE to launch a new chapter in Houston and strengthen the programs in Dallas and Miami.
      • AT&T has invested $6.5 million in Genesys Works since 2012 to help provide more underserved high school students with hands-on work experience and career training. Most recently in 2017, we contributed $500,000 to the organization. Genesys Works offers an intensive summer training program with professional and technical skills development as well as career coaching. After the training, students begin a paid, year-long internship at companies such as AT&T.

Supporting Students

Through Aspire, we’re connecting communities through proven strategies to help students succeed. This includes engaging our employees to mentor students around the world and investing in best-in-class organizations that meet the needs of young people everywhere.

When a mentor connects with a young person, both are changed for the better. AT&T employees connect with students to help them discover their career passions and potential. We collaborate with best-in-class non-profits to provide a variety of mentoring opportunities both in person and online. Since October 2012, our employees have impacted more than 350,000 students through more than 2.2 million hours of mentoring.

Our non-profit collaborators for mentoring include:

When the GradNation campaign launched in 2010 with support from AT&T, the high school graduation rate was 74.9% for the class of 2008.3 The national graduation rate is at an all-time high of 84.1% for the class of 2016.1 Despite this progress, significant challenges remain. Serious graduation gaps persist between students of different races, ethnicities, income levels and special needs. AT&T is proud to be a lead supporter of the GradNation campaign and to work with many successful education organizations across the country, meeting the unique needs of students in their communities.

  • In 2017, AT&T contributed $3.5 million to JAG to allow the national non-profit to add new schools and/or expand existing programs through its 34 JAG state affiliates with proven success records of keeping kids in school.
  • In 2017, AT&T contributed $2.5 million to help Communities In Schools serve thousands of additional students, provide college and career readiness and mentoring by AT&T employees, and continue CIS’ advancements in data collection, technology, research and evaluation.
  • In 2016, AT&T selected 18 non-profits to share $10 million distributed over 2 years through the Aspire Connect to Success Competition. The awardees support and motivate underserved students to stay in school and prepare for their next step in life, and they will serve students in 14 states and the District of Columbia. The awardees each use evidence-based approaches and can prove they make an impact for their students.
  • Since 2012, AT&T has contributed more than $4 million to City Year and engaged our employees to mentor City Year AmeriCorps members and participate in volunteer projects. City Year unites teams of 17- to 24-year-old AmeriCorps members from diverse ethnic, education and socio-economic backgrounds to engage in a year of full-time service, leadership development and civic engagement. As tutors, mentors and role models to the students, the AmeriCorps members are deployed in teams to high-poverty, urban schools to help students stay in school and on track to graduate.

To learn more about our AT&T Aspire initiative, visit 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 Contributions 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, visit our philanthropy policy.

1 Graduation rate as measured by GradNation, a campaign of America’s Promise Alliance, Building a Grad Nation Report Update 2017

2 Degree/credential rate as measured the Lumina Foundation: https://www.luminafoundation.org/lumina-goal

3 Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance, Building a Grad Nation Report Update 2010

Updated on: Jul 2, 2018

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