Education plays a central role in giving students the tools to succeed, but even with recent improvements in the on-time graduation rate, studies reveal that about one-fifth of all students fail to graduate on time—with drop-out rates for African American and Hispanic students even higher at one-third and 30 percent, respectively. To fight this crisis, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have teamed up with Roadtrip Nation through AT&T Aspire to keep students engaged in school and on-track to college and career success.
Roadtrip Nation—an organization that creates innovative career exploration resources to help students explore pathways aligned with their interests—received $1 million from AT&T and the AT&T Foundation to produce a mobile-friendly curriculum that helps students at risk of dropping out of high school connect their studies and interests to real-world opportunities. The commitment to serve 10,000 high school students across the nation with The Roadtrip Nation Experience curriculum will be jointly announced as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting today.
“The heart of our curriculum is to allow students to map their interests to future pathways in life,” commented Mike Marriner, Co-Founder, Roadtrip Nation. “With the help of AT&T, we will be able to deliver this valuable program to underserved continuation schools and AVID students across the nation who are in need of opportunities to explore pathways for their futures.”
Throughout the curriculum, students will engage in self-reflection exercises to identify their interests, and will gain exposure to educational and career pathways through Roadtrip Nation’s vast interview archive, which contains video interviews with hundreds of successful real-world leaders spanning every industry. To make the learning process more tangible to students’ lives, the culminating curriculum project will send students out on their own “Roadtrips” to interview local leaders in their communities who share their interests. Throughout the experience, students will connect to an online student community, where they can showcase their media projects, see the projects of fellow students, and connect with like-minded peers who share the same goals and social pressures.
“The Roadtrip Nation Experience motivates students to find and then follow their own passions in life,” said Beth Adcock Shiroishi, Vice President of Sustainability and Philanthropy, AT&T. “By bringing the real world into the classroom and connecting the dots between students’ personal interests and potential careers, we hope to show the relevance of learning and further combat forces that drive students to dropout.”
In fact, evaluation studies measuring the impact of Roadtrip Nation programs have already shown that students participating in Roadtrip Nation curricula demonstrate a significant increase in student self-efficacy matched with real academic gains (most notably, Roadtrip Nation students’ GPA increased at twice the rate of non-Roadtrip Nation students over a 9-month period). With this dynamic relationship, AT&T, the AT&T Foundation and Roadtrip Nation will further their shared mission of preparing youth for the future by giving students the tools to identify who they are, what they love, and how they can make their dreams a reality.
The support for Roadtrip Nation is part of AT&T Aspire, AT&T’s $350 million commitment to education. With more than 1 million students impacted since its launch in 2008, Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on helping more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.