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Where We Connect
Connecting more people in more ways isn't limited to network improvements and product innovations. Just ask the returning veterans we now call colleagues. Or the teens we discourage from texting behind the wheel. For them, improving the quality of life in the communities we serve is another area where we really excel.
In 2012, when we committed $250 million in additional funding to AT&T Aspire, our program aimed at helping underserved students graduate from high school ready for college or careers, we also looked to apply our collaborative innovation style to help students succeed.
For example, we 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.
AT&T has hosted several more education hackathons, and we're especially excited to see students engaging in the process. At a hackathon in Plano, Tex., five local high school students — Ahmed Khan, Jimmy Zhong, Matthew Laux, Trent Davies and Bilal Ayub (pictured above, left to right) — came up with the winning idea — oculr, a smartphone app for studying math equations.
"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."
Since 2009, AT&T has led the fight against texting while driving through our "It Can Wait" public awareness campaign. We're focused on educating the public — especially teens — on the dangers of texting behind the wheel. Our goal? Make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving.
AT&T took this effort to a whole new level in 2012, challenging all Americans to join our 240,000 employees in making a lifelong commitment to never text while driving. To date, the campaign has inspired more than 1.2 million "No Text on Board" pledges.
We're also collaborating with wireless device makers and app developers to include preloaded, no-text-and-drive technology solutions on all the devices we offer. And we introduced AT&T DriveMode, an app that, when enabled and a vehicle is moving 25+ miles per hour, automatically sends customizable auto-reply messages to incoming texts.
Now we're taking "It Can Wait" to schools across the nation so that students can take AT&T's texting and driving virtual reality simulator for a spin … and experience just how difficult it is to pay attention to the road while texting. "You know it's a bad idea to text and drive," says student Kenny Barrientos Parada. "But this is scary — it really brings home the danger."
After five years with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, Derrik Wise was ready to return to civilian life. But first he needed a job. The company at the top of his list? AT&T.
"In Afghanistan, I would get AT&T calling cards in care packages. That let me talk with my family when I needed it the most," says Derrik. "So when I got back to the United States and heard AT&T was hiring veterans, I decided I wanted to be part of this company."
"AT&T has a nearly century-long history of supporting active-duty personnel and their families, as well as veterans," says Scott Smith, senior vice president, human resources operations, AT&T. "They bring a mix of skills — including leadership, integrity and service to others — that is a great match for our business."
In recent years, we've accelerated our efforts to help veterans find jobs — with AT&T or elsewhere. That led us to become one of the first 10 corporations to join the 100,000 Jobs Mission. As of the end of 2012, more than 50,000 veterans had found jobs through the initiative … well on the way to the goal of 100,000 jobs by 2020. And in 2012, the number of veterans hired by AT&T tripled to nearly 1,000.
Our employees also support the military community. A group dedicated to supporting active duty and veteran employees has more than 5,000 members. And in 2012 nearly 300 employee volunteers with our Careers for Vets program provided job placement and career advice to more than 2,200 veterans.
"AT&T's support and the large military community here reinforce what I already knew," says Derrik. "This is the place for me."4
4 AT&T is not endorsed by or affiliated with the U.S. Armed Forces.
Our Commitment at Work
At AT&T we work hard to manage our business sustainably — that's not just good for the communities we serve and the world we all share, but it's good for our company, too. And our commitment to sustainability doesn't stop with our own efforts to operate better and smarter. We're enabling our customers to live and work more sustainably, as well.
When our customers select a mobile device, they want the best and fastest. More and more, they're also considering the environmental impact of the device. So, in 2012 AT&T launched a system of eco-ratings for all new AT&T-branded postpaid handsets and many existing models. Just one way we make it simple for consumers to make an empowered, sustainable choice.
To learn more, visit www.att.com/csr.