AT&T Launches $1.3 Million Campaign Addressing Diversity in Tech and Career Readiness for Underserved Communities in Bay Area

AT&T* has launched a new initiative called Believe Bay AreaSM – a grassroots, employee-driven campaign bringing together AT&T leadership, employees and resources alongside local nonprofit, government and business communities to support skill and career building opportunities for underserved communities in the Bay Area.

With Believe Bay Area, AT&T has committed an initial $1.3 million in 2018-2019 to nonprofit organizations that focus on skills building, education, workforce development, and career readiness programs with a bridge to employment opportunities. The program will emphasize increasing diversity in tech, while also supporting other education and employment pathway opportunities to address the broader issue of economic and social mobility. Believe Bay Area will also connect AT&T employees to volunteer and mentorship opportunities across the Bay Area.

“In the increasingly expensive and competitive Bay Area region, we believe access to college and career opportunities should be available to everyone,” said Rhonda Johnson, state president of AT&T California. “Believe Bay Area builds on AT&T’s commitment in historically disadvantaged communities with local employees leading the way to volunteer and mentor.

“The 6,000-plus men and women of AT&T that call the Bay Area home will be able to engage with community leaders and organizations, playing an active role in tackling the challenges of poverty, education, and skills gaps to help further a future of possibilities and economic mobility.”

AT&T will host the launch of Believe Bay Area at a private event today at the 1 Powell flagship store, presenting $400,000 to San Francisco-based nonprofits in the first wave of Believe Bay Area support. These contributions are just part of the overall $1.3 million Believe Bay Area will contribute in 2018-2019:

  • $100,000 to Vets in Tech to provide tech training curriculum, wrap-around support services, and job placement for returning veterans in the Bay Area.
  • $100,000 to Larkin Street Youth Services to support the mayoral initiative “Rising Up,” a robust housing and employment program for homeless transitional age youth in San Francisco, by providing opportunities for job training, employment and education.
  • $200,000 to Jewish Vocational Services to support the City of San Francisco’s “Opportunities for All” initiative that will connect young people to employment, training and post-secondary opportunities through the JVS internship program.

“San Francisco’s economy is thriving, but too many of our residents are being left behind,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “We need to do more to ensure that we are creating opportunities so that all of our residents can benefit, which is why programs like Opportunities for All and Rising Up are so important. When the City, non-profits, and businesses like AT&T come together to support programs that invest in communities, we all win.”

Today’s kickoff event will also feature a panel discussion with Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code, Nikole Collins-Puri of Techbridge Girls, Katherine Webster of Vets in Tech, and Heejae Lim of Talking Points, an alum of the Aspire Accelerator. The panel will focus on community challenges, job training and creation, and expanding diversity in STEM careers.

Believe Bay Area launches alongside the celebration of the 5th anniversary of AT&T’s Aspire Accelerator, an incubator to support and mentor the most promising and innovative startups in ed-tech, and the $1 Million Skills Building Challenge. By supporting the most promising and innovative startups in ed-tech, the AT&T Aspire Accelerator helps connect the companies chosen for the program to financial investment, access to expert services and mentorship. Believe Bay Area is an extension of the Accelerator’s ongoing commitment to increasing access to skills building and college and career readiness in STEM.

Believe Bay Area will continue contributing to prominent local organizations across the Bay Area through 2019, with future announcements planned in Oakland and San Jose.

Believe Bay Area is an extension of AT&T BelievesSM, a larger company-wide initiative designed to create positive change in local communities.