What did you want to be when you grew up? As a little girl, I vacillated between a ballerina or grocery check-out clerk. The skills for these seemed fairly straightforward – being incredibly athletic or very organized. Looking back, I couldn’t fathom that my job now might entail investing in ed-tech startups, or that my friends and colleagues would be designing mobile apps or driverless cars.
This is where our signature education initiative – AT&T Aspire – comes in. We are making a $20 million investment in students this back to school season, with the goal of helping them master the skills needed for the jobs of the future.
We’ve all landed where we are today by building on what we learned in school and finding new, innovative ways to hone specific skills after graduation. Now, with an ever competitive global marketplace and the ubiquitous presence of technology in our lives – how do we prepare the next generations for the jobs they can’t yet fathom, especially those left on the fringes of opportunity? This is where our signature education initiative – AT&T Aspire – comes in. We are making a $20 million investment in students this back to school season, with the goal of helping them master the skills needed for the jobs of the future.
Some of these funds will go to equipping students with 21st century job skills, while others will help students better imagine their futures. While each one follows a different approach, they share the same ultimate goal – preparing young people for careers they are just starting to dream. For instance:
- Black Girls Code has served over 3,000 students in metro areas across the U.S. Through their workshops and events, they are helping girls in diverse communities learn the new language of the 21st century – coding!
- The Opportunity Fund at General Assembly is a fellowship program aimed at providing hands-on education and career opportunities in technology to people of color, veterans and students from low-income backgrounds.
- The Imagination Foundation is launching pop-up learning spaces, called Imagination Chapters that foster creativity, entrepreneurship, STEM-learning and other 21st century skills through Creative Play.
- Roadtrip Nation connects students’ interests to real-world careers and helps them find and follow the path to get there.
The kindergartens of today will design the future virtual grocery store or imagine a ballerina on a whole different stage. We don’t know where this class of 2027 will go, but we know their potential is boundless. And as my kindergartener learns to read on his tablet each night, I’m glad my company is working to connect all students to the education and technology. Here’s to our future ballerinas and tinkerers!