Celebrating 10 Years of AT&T Aspire

In today’s innovation economy, education is the most important investment we can make to develop the next generation of creative thinkers.

When we invest in people and communities, everyone benefits.

Just 10 years ago, we launched AT&T Aspire. The initiative brings together AT&T employees, nonprofits and community members to equip students with the skills they need to lead the digital, global economy. Since then, we’ve invested in innovative education organizations, tools and solutions to help positively impact education.

And, we’re helping more students graduate high school. When we launched AT&T Aspire, the national high school graduation rate for the class of 2008 was 74.9%. Just 8 years later, the graduation rate for the class of 2016 reached 84.1%.

We’re proud to have been part of helping students achieve their goals. A skilled and diverse workforce powers our company and our country for the future.

We’re also making an impact regionally.

We worked with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the state’s 173 school districts to extend fiber-based, high-speed internet to each of those districts. We’ve helped set connectivity speeds that established Kentucky as the first state to meet a national benchmark in 2012. And, it’s an indicator that there’s fiber-optic infrastructure in every county in the Commonwealth.

Kentucky is a true leader in education initiatives. KDE worked for years to expand and enhance its network and keep all districts on a level playing field. The same use of technology found in larger cities is now provided statewide. Technology is making it easier for everyone – regardless of age, gender, income or geography – to learn anytime, anywhere.

And, AT&T Aspire is making a difference in Kentucky schools too. Through the program, Rowan, Jefferson and Nelson counties are doing amazing work helping students build a strong foundation for future success. These efforts include STEM initiatives, expansion of tuition assistance for students pursuing associate degrees and providing access to education and training.

Students are having new experiences never before possible. And their chances to reach for and attain their post-high school goals are higher.

We’re committed to working with schools, universities, communities, business and national and local leaders to invest in technology and innovative ideas to improve education.

In 2015, we launched the AT&T Aspire Accelerator for ed-tech startups that use technology to support student education and workforce success. In 3 years, the program has supported 19 promising startups in education technology with programs focused on reading, STEM and emotional intelligence. And, we’ve reached more than 12 million students and counting.

We recently hosted our 2018 Aspire Accelerator class for our inaugural Pitches with Purpose competitions. Each of the entrepreneurs pitched their products or service to investors, AT&T executives and education stakeholders.

From the class of 8, MindRight took the top prize. The nonprofit empowers youth of color to heal from systemic oppression trauma – including structural violence, poverty, racism and discrimination – with support via text message. We congratulate them for their innovation and their future successes.

Education will propel the creativity of the future. We’re eager to continue taking steps in understanding and recognizing how education and technology helps all of us build better, more connected futures.


Alex Parker is senior vice president for AT&T State & Local Government and Education programs.