AT&T is committed to advancing education and is helping to lead the transformation. Technology is rapidly changing how and where students learn – and AT&T is driven to help students succeed – in school, in the workforce and in life.
Starting in 2012, the company looked to apply a collaborative innovation style to help students succeed.
AT&T engaged the education community in "hackathons" to create apps to increase student success rates. In a hackathon, app developers race against the clock to create mobile apps.
The first education hackathon attracted more than 200 students, teachers and developers. The winning team tackled an issue one member, a teacher, had experienced: The time-consuming process of assessing and tracking reading fluency. They created an app that analyzes reading skills in real time and makes it easy to save, record and graph students' scores and share them with educators and parents.
"We're uncovering great new tools that will help future generations graduate from high school prepared for what lies ahead, including careers at companies like AT&T," says Beth Shiroishi, vice president, sustainability and philanthropy, AT&T. "And we'll continue to further engage the education community as part of our broader commitment to Aspire."
Also that same year, AT&T committed $250 million in additional funding to AT&T Aspire, the program aimed at helping underserved students graduate from high school ready for college or careers.
"AT&T Aspire works toward an America where every student graduates high school equipped with the knowledge and skills to strengthen the nation's workforce," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson
AT&T Aspire tackles high school success and college/career readiness for students at-risk of dropping out of high school through a much larger, "socially innovative" approach. Social innovation goes beyond traditional philanthropy – which typically involves only charitable giving – to also engage people and technology to bring different approaches, new solutions and added resources to challenging social problems.
Lacking a high school degree is a serious issue in the United States, where one in four students – more than 1 million each year – drops out, according to a March 19, 2012, report by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America's Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education. AT&T is the lead sponsor of this report. Education experts believe that the lack of a high school degree significantly worsens job prospects in a rapidly changing, increasingly sophisticated job market.
"It will take all of us working together and supporting the hard work of the education community to continue to improve graduation rates and preparedness for careers and college," Stephenson said. "American business has an enormous stake in the success of our students. It's time to commit more innovation and resources to the task."
For more information on Aspire, go to att.com/aspire.