AT&T Issue Briefs

Our issue briefs provide additional details on topics identified as most important by our stakeholders. View all the issue briefs on the Reporting Library for a comprehensive overview or choose an issue in the drop-down menu.


Global Reporting Initiative Standard Disclosures
Building digital skills MA; 203-1; 203-2

Global Reporting Initiative Standard Disclosures
Building digital skills MA; 203-1; 203-2

Stakeholder Engagement Topics
Building digital skills

Stakeholder Engagement Topics
Building digital skills



Our Position


We invest our company’s resources and knowledge to advance access to education and training to ensure the workforces of today and tomorrow have the capabilities needed to thrive.





Our Goals



TOPIC: Education and Training



2020 TARGET: In support of GradNation’s goal to increase the U.S. high school graduation rate to 90% by the class of 2020, 1 1 Graduation rate as measured by GradNation, a campaign of America’s Promise Alliance: AT&T will invest in education and training programs that use technology to address education challenges, help students get through high school and beyond, and provide the skills needed to get and keep good jobs.



PROGRESS: Committed more than $600 million.

Since 2008, we’ve committed more than $600 million to programs that help students succeed in school and discover their career passions and potential.



TOPIC: Educational Technology Solutions



2020 TARGET: Support technology applications that solve educational challenges through the AT&T Aspire Accelerator.



PROGRESS: Launched Aspire Accelerator $1 Million Skills Building Challenge.

In 2020, we launched another cohort for the Aspire Accelerator $1 Million Skills Building Challenge, which provides financial investment, access to expert services and mentorship to education startups dedicated to skills development. Companies participating in our 6 previous cohorts are currently reaching more than 45 million students and have attracted more than $50 million in external funding after graduating from the program.



TOPIC: Internship Opportunities



2022 TARGET: Host 200 Year Up interns annually.



PROGRESS: Hosted 65 Year Up interns.

We hosted 65 Year Up interns at AT&T around the U.S. in 2020 and have revised our goal due to delays in placements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our revised goal, we will host and hire 200 Year Up interns and alumni annually by 2023.



TOPIC: Advanced Degrees



2025 TARGET: AT&T will promote STEM training through ongoing education programs.



PROGRESS: Investing in credential and degree programs.

Inspired by Lumina Foundation’s goal to increase the number of Americans with high-quality post-secondary degrees or credentials to 60% by 2025, 2 2 Degree/credential rate as measured by the Lumina Foundation: AT&T has invested in credentialing, certification or specialized degree programs that help propel students in their careers. Highlights include:
  • Support for Udacity Nanodegree programs that provide online educational pathways to industry-relevant skills.
  • Contributions to Per Scholas to support software engineering and cybersecurity instructions, certification and career coaching.
  • Collaboration with the University of Oklahoma, Notre Dame, North Carolina A&T State University, the University of Texas at El Paso, Hampton University and Champlain College to create opportunities for degrees or certifications in specialized fields.

In 2021, we evolved our strategy to focus on helping bridge the digital divide and announced a 3-year, $2 billion commitment to help bring affordability, educational resources and economic opportunity to the millions of Americans who don’t have broadband connectivity today.

With this revised focus, we will no longer be tracking progress toward this Advanced Degrees target.



TOPIC: Rural Schools Development



2030 TARGET: Reach 60,000 schools in Latin America through ESCUELA+ by 2030.



PROGRESS: Launched goal.

In May 2021, we set a new goal to reach 60,000 schools in Latin America through our ESCUELA+ program, which provides primary and secondary students with DIRECTV 3 3 In February 2021, we agreed to contribute our North America video business – including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse – to form a new company with TPG Capital. The transaction is pending customary closing conditions. and SKY satellite technology, original and third-party educational content, customer services support and custom-designed pedagogical support materials to positively transform the classroom experience. We will begin reporting progress toward this goal in 2022.




Our Action

AT&T invests in education and job training to help create a skilled, diverse workforce that can power our company – and our country – for the future. Our efforts include initiatives that promote success in school and provide job skills development to support a well-educated and future-ready workforce. These programs and initiatives at AT&T are overseen by our Chief Diversity & Development Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer. Oversight is provided by the Public Policy and Corporate Reputation Committee of the AT&T Board of Directors.

Skilling Our Workforce
Over more than 140 years, AT&T has evolved from a telephone company to an integrated media and communications company. Our training initiatives create a culture of continuous learning and help employees develop the skills we need today and in the future. We offer personalized training, mentoring and career development programs through our award-winning internal training organization, AT&T University. In 2020, we invested about $166 million in direct employee training and professional development programs and delivered more than 16 million hours of training. 4 4 Inclusive of AT&T Communications.
AT&T assesses the effectiveness of our initiatives by measuring employee performance and career progression as well as our ability to fill positions internally. Our metrics show that highly engaged employees – those who take part in our training and development initiatives 5 5 Inclusive of AT&T Communications and AT&T Latin America.  – are:
  • 10% more likely to receive a higher performance rating at the end of the year
  • 30% more likely to receive a higher key contributor award at the end of the year
  • 23% more likely to move laterally
  • 72% less likely to leave the company

In 2020, 82% of our technical jobs were filled internally. To read more about hiring and retention initiatives, see Our Workforce issue brief.

Skills Transformation 

AT&T monitors employee training through an online platform called the Personal Learning Experience, where every employee’s online training is booked, completed and logged. Of the approximately 16 million hours of training recorded in 2020, more than 2 million hours were devoted to skills transformation. And, as of 2020, almost 90% of AT&T management employees have engaged in skilling programs provided or subsidized by the company.5

We also work with external organizations to help create opportunities for our employees and the public. These programs can lead to degrees or certifications in specialized fields. Since 2014, AT&T has partnered with Udacity, a premier online learning platform, to create a series of Nanodegree credentials in web development, data analysis, programming and other fields.

AT&T continues to collaborate with public and private universities for a variety of degree programs, including:

  • University of Oklahoma – Master of science in data science & analytics
  • Notre Dame – Master of science in data science
  • North Carolina A&T State University, a historically Black college & university 
    • Master of business administration 
    • Master of science in information technology
    • Master of science in technology management 
  • University of Texas El Paso – Master of science in systems engineering, a Hispanic serving institution 
  • Hampton University – Master of cybersecurity, a historically Black college & university
  • Champlain College – Bachelor of science in cybersecurity

Please visit Our Workforce issue brief for more information on compensation and benefits initiatives to attract and retain critical talent.

Building the Future Pipeline
Skills gaps are not unique to one industry or one area of expertise. Research shows that approximately 15% of students fail to graduate with their high school class. 6 6 National Center for Education Statistics: And many of those who graduate on time are not properly prepared to further their education or succeed in the workplace. To remain competitive in the global economy, the technology and media industries need a qualified, robust and diverse talent pipeline to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Since 2008, we have committed more than $600 million to programs serving millions of students around the world to help them succeed in school and discover their career passions and potential. We measure the success of AT&T contributions by tracking outcomes and the number of students impacted. For a portion of our programs, we work with third-party researcher Westat to track student learning outcomes and the resulting social impact. Findings from this evaluation show that students participating in AT&T-supported programs had better school attendance and higher GPAs than nonparticipating cohorts with similar backgrounds. And students who participate in AT&T-funded programs that stay on track to graduate reap an estimate of more than $10,000 in additional social, economic and personal benefits over their lifetime.

Innovation in Education

The AT&T 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 2020, we launched another cohort for the Aspire Accelerator $1 Million Skills Building Challenge. Companies participating in our 6 previous cohorts are currently reaching more than 45 million students and have attracted more than $50 million in funding after graduating from the program. Since launching in 2015, Accelerator participants have included 70% women-led companies and 51% minority-led companies.


In Latin America, our ESCUELA+ program provides primary and secondary students DIRECTV and SKY satellite technology, original and third-party educational content, customer services support and custom-designed pedagogical support materials to positively transform the classroom experience. Approximately 80% of participating schools are rural.

When COVID-19 caused the suspension of in-person classes, the ESCUELA+ channel and its content were opened to all DIRECTV, DIRECTV GO, and SKY Play customers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay to support learning at home. Through this expansion, educational content previously reaching nearly 10,000 schools was immediately made available to approximately 7 million households, free of charge.

The program is currently active in 8 countries. Since the start of the program in 2007, we have:

  • Reached 2 million students in 9,800 schools
  • Trained 192,000+ teachers
  • Presented 5,000 hours of educational content
  • Created 600 teaching support materials
  • Created and deployed the ESCUELA+ channel, a 24/5 broadcast service
Supporting Students

AT&T has a long history of collaborating with education organizations to help students graduate from high school prepared for the future. In 2020, we also supported organizations as they addressed educational challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our contributions included:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA): $750,000 to support their COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Recovery Fund and to develop virtual curriculum and activities for club youth and families
  • City Year: $1 million to support team sponsorships in high-need schools in 29 of their locations and to mitigate the educational equity gap exacerbated by the shift to virtual learning
  • Communities In Schools (CIS): $1 million to support programming, deliver core operational support to CIS’s nationwide network, and provide distance learning and connectivity support through their affiliates in response to COVID-19


When COVID-19 forced more than 50 million U.S. students out of the classroom, we launched the $10 million AT&T Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund to help equip parents, students and teachers with high-quality tools and content for at-home learning. 7 7 Education Week: The fund also provided resources to help families maintain meaningful connections when isolated from friends and loved ones. Since creating the fund in March 2020, we have supported more than 60 leading and innovative organizations who have reached more than 196 million students, parents and educators with resources and programming.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 17 million children have been unable to take part in virtual learning because their families don’t have an internet connection or device. This nationwide problem disproportionately impacts students of color, those with disabilities and those in rural or under-resourced communities.

To help address this challenge and enable connected learning, AT&T made an additional $10 million commitment to support at-risk students disconnected from remote learning with free internet connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspots. We’re working with Connected Nation, a leading non-profit focusing on broadband and digital technology challenges, to help close the gap for approximately 35,000 students who need help most. In addition, AT&T has offered discounted unlimited wireless data plans and content filtering services to more than 135,000 public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities across the country to better connect students and educators.

Powering Careers: Technology, Media and Content Production

Technological advancements are improving our lives and changing the way we work. This evolution not only requires a focus on “hard” skills such as coding and data analytics, but also emphasizes the importance of the “soft” skills that technology cannot replace, including leadership, collaboration and effective decision-making. For that reason, AT&T is investing in programs that address the multidimensional nature of today’s skills gaps to prepare people for career success. 2020 contributions include:

  • Per Scholas: $250,000 to support the scaling of Per Scholas software engineering and cybersecurity instruction, certification and career coaching to new and aspiring IT professionals across 7 cities
  • Roadtrip Nation: $500,000 to support the creation and delivery of 2 interactive student resources for career exploration, including a student digital toolkit and a custom project-based learning module for opportunity youth
  • All Star Code (ASC): $400,000 to support ASC Summer Intensive programs in New York City and Pittsburgh, its Scholar Services (alumni) program, and expansion efforts to other cities
  • Techbridge Girls: $250,000 to support the expansion of the TechbridgeGirls@Home virtual learning platform and adapt the new Expanding Your Horizons conference programming for a digital environment
  • $250,000 to support tools that facilitate the transition from in-person teaching to distance learning for teachers and families, as well as delivery of at-home CodeBreaks, which are weekly interactive classroom sessions

We also support programs focused on empowering girls and young women with tech and STEM skills and increasing the representation of women in STEM careers:

  • Girls Who Code (GWC): $1 million to support GWC's virtual 2021 Summer Immersion Programming, as well as national alumni and clubs programming and sponsorship
  • Black Girls CODE: $400,000 to support virtual and in-person programming to prepare young women of color for STEM careers in a 5G economy
  • Girls, Inc.: $300,000 to support the immediate need for virtual programming to support girls academically and emotionally during COVID-19
  • Girl Scouts: $1 million to support Girl Scouts’ Virtual Family STEM Events and Virtual STEM Expo Pilot
AT&T and WarnerMedia strive to provide diverse talent pathways into the entertainment industry so the stories we tell are more reflective of our audiences and everyone has an opportunity to see themselves represented on television, stage and film. 8 8 In May 2021, we entered into an agreement to combine our WarnerMedia segment, subject to certain exceptions, with a subsidiary of Discovery, Inc. The transaction is subject to approval by Discovery shareholders and customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals. Examples of our support include:
  • WarnerMedia Story Lab: WarnerMedia Story Lab, developed in collaboration with Young Storytellers and the Los Angeles Unified School District, is a superhero-inspired, in-school program that aims to develop a generation of young people who value their voice and the voices of their peers. In its 3 years, Story Lab programming has been delivered to more than 5,000 students across 24 Los Angeles Unified school sites. After the onset of COVID-19, a Story Lab distance learning workshop was adapted for virtual instruction and reached approximately 50 schools and 5,500 students.
  • WarnerMedia Access to Action: WarnerMedia Access to Action provides individuals who have not traditionally had pathways into the entertainment industry with access to crafts and technical jobs on WarnerMedia film and television productions. Through the program, which fosters a more inclusive production workforce, more than 420 candidates across 12 cities have been placed in jobs on WarnerMedia productions.
  • Ghetto Film School Film Credits: To help young filmmakers develop media-making skills and amplify their stories, AT&T and WarnerMedia joined together to support Ghetto Film School’s nationwide film challenge, Film Credits. Participants were invited to reflect on the current state of their world, including social distancing and social justice, and submit stories of determination and action.
  • Sundance Institute Indigenous Intensive: This WarnerMedia artistic and cultural partnership provides a full-circle opportunity to scout and identify indigenous artists, support the production and exhibition of their work by the Sundance Institute and facilitate the filmmakers' return to native lands to share their artistry.
  • Hollywood CPR: WarnerMedia is a longtime supporter of Hollywood CPR, which provides vocational training in skills required for crafts and technical positions in the entertainment industry. Company support for the organization is ongoing and includes capacity building, placement for graduates and hosting career readiness opportunities.
  • Project Involve: WarnerMedia is the sponsor of Project Involve, a program that offers film professionals from underrepresented communities the opportunity to hone skills and gain the industry access necessary to succeed as working artists.
  • FACIUNI: Established by DIRECTV Latin America in 2013, FUCIUNI Becas invests, showcases and incentivizes the cultural exchange and experience of cinema to multiple companies of Latin America, Europe, and U.S. Hispanic communities. Through this scholarship program, we provide international and local opportunities for film students who reside in Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the U.S. After students submit films for consideration, a director of the best short film in each participating country is chosen. 4 of the national winners receive a scholarship to attend the Warner Bros. Summer Program at USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Economic Opportunity for Black and Underserved Communities

In 2020, AT&T committed $10 million to help create economic opportunities and foster upward mobility for Black and underserved communities facing long-standing social inequities and higher unemployment, all of which are exacerbated by COVID-19. Our investment included $4.5 million to national work readiness programs focused on under- and unemployed youth (ages 16–24). Key initiatives include:

  • Collaborating with YouthBuild USA to inspire innovative ways to place young people, including justice-involved youth, into full-time employment
  • Teaming with Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) to equip young people facing economic, environmental and academic challenges with the emotional and educational support needed for high school and career success
  • Expanding AT&T’s collaboration with Year Up, which prepares young people for careers through year-long corporate internships and college classes. We have revised our commitment to host 200 Year Up interns at AT&T annually by 2022 and now plan to host and hire 200 Year Up interns and alums annually by 2023, due to delays in placements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

Read more about how we support our employees and our communities in Our Workforce and Community Engagement issue briefs.