AT&T* announced the completion of its first year-long mentoring program “Operation Hand Salute” for California-based disabled-veteran business enterprises (DVBEs) and the graduation of five participants. The program is designed to help DVBEs develop the tools and expertise to win large corporate contracts.
“Operation Hand Salute” matched participants with mentors and connected them with industry experts, community leaders and AT&T executives throughout their training. The program included classes and webinars that taught participants how to operate efficiently within a global supply chain; create effective marketing strategies; and incorporate cutting-edge technology to improve operations, remove defects and elevate customer satisfaction. Participation in the program also afforded participants the opportunity to obtain TL 9000 certification – an internationally recognized quality system requirement for suppliers to telecommunications companies.
“It’s an honor for AT&T to mentor companies led by those who have served our country, said Tim Harden, president of AT&T Supply Chain and Fleet Operations. “The inclusion of diverse enterprises in our supply chain strengthens our company and helps us achieve our diversity objectives.”
During the graduation event Abram Wilson, mayor of San Ramon, Calif.; and Karen Stepper, mayor of Danville, Calif., congratulated the five participants, who also received a congressional certificate from U.S. Rep .Jerry McNerney, member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
“Operation Hand Salute” reflects the AT&T’s commitment to increasing its vendor diversity by putting in place a program that addresses the challenges that small businesses face when competing for contracts in the global marketplace.
With more than 40 years of experience, AT&T is a pioneer of including diversity owned businesses—minority, women and disabled veterans in its supply chain. AT&T is a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a supplier diversity think tank of corporations that spend more that $1 billion annually with diverse companies. Only 17 member companies qualify at this level. In 2010, AT&T was named one of the “Best 10 Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses” by Vetrepreneur Magazine, and received the George Washington Award for its commitment to business development for veterans by the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation.
AT&T has been an active supporter of DVBEs since 1993 when, working with the Association for Service-Disabled Veterans (ASDV), it led the private sector in championing the passage of the Disabled Veterans Business Act of 1999. AT&T is also a supporter and member of the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA), Elite Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB) Network, and the California DVBE Alliance.