AT&T and OASIS Provide Mature Adults with Skills Training and Confidence to Use Technology
$1 Million National Grant to Fund Expansion of Computer-Skills Training Across the Country; $27,000 Allotted to San Antonio OASIS
San Antonio, Texas, December 10, 2007
The AT&T Foundation — the corporate philanthropy organization of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) — has provided The OASIS Institute with a $1 million grant, which has helped to expand special programs for mature adults all over the country. OASIS is a national nonprofit educational organization designed to enhance the quality of life for mature adults who are at least 50 years old. Offering challenging programs in the arts, humanities, wellness, technology and volunteer service, OASIS creates opportunities for older adults to continue their personal growth and provide meaningful service to the community.
Many Americans discover that they need to develop new skills to remain active in the community and competitive in today's job market. To help people in the San Antonio area build those skills, $27,000 of the national grant funds are being invested in San Antonio OASIS.
In the past 15 years, San Antonio OASIS has grown from just a handful of students to more than 17,000, including 385 volunteers doing everything from office work to intergenerational tutoring. About 700 classes are offered each year, including topics such as health or history.
"We now have 26 wonderful centers nationwide," said Marylen Mann, who founded the organization in St. Louis in 1982. "The San Antonio group is one of the most innovative and dynamic."
Building upon the success of the AT&T Foundation's $500,000 grant to OASIS in 2005, the $1 million national grant will be used to expand the Excellence in Technology Partnership initiative to help mature adults in more communities develop the skills, resources and confidence to use technology effectively in their personal lives and in the workforce. The funds will also allow OASIS centers and partner organizations in 21 cities across the United States to receive services and equipment under the national grant.
At San Antonio OASIS, classes are held in the OASIS center at Macy's furniture store. The AT&T grant also makes it possible for OASIS to offer free computer classes in underserved areas of San Antonio. The city of San Antonio partnered with OASIS to offer classes in city nutrition sites. Locations for outreach classes include: Presa Community Center, St Vincent de Paul Church and Bob Ross Senior Center. The older adults take the classes for various reasons: Some want to brush up on their skills to re-enter the workforce; others want to use the skills to communicate and find information about their health and other important issues through the Internet.
Through OASIS courses and curriculum, individuals can update their technology skills for the workplace with classes in how to use e-mail and word-processing applications and how to create spreadsheets and conduct Internet searches, as well as learn about online security. Other classes, such as Introduction to Computers, Digital Camera Photography, Introduction to Windows XP and even How to Keep E-mail Organized, help older adults consider their options for work and update their job-search skills in order to take advantage of the many employment resources available online and in the community.
"AT&T is committed to supporting lifelong learning programs that enrich and strengthen underserved communities," said Jerry Fuentes, AT&T assistant vice president of External Affairs. "Through the local OASIS programs, we're able to improve the quality of life for mature adults in San Antonio and offer the right tools and educational resources to learn how to use technology in their everyday lives."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.4 percent of U.S. workers — more than 40 million people — were 55 or older in 2005, a figure that will rise to 20 percent by 2015. Unemployment continues to drop in San Antonio because of the rising economy, allowing seniors a greater opportunity to be a part of the workforce. The "New Face of Work" survey by MetLife and Civic Ventures shows that half of adults aged 50 to 70 are interested in taking jobs, paid or unpaid, to improve the quality of life in their communities. Yet the generation gap in basic technology skills continues. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that only 33 percent of Americans aged 65-plus used the Internet in 2006, compared with 70 percent of all adults.
AT&T and the AT&T Foundation support efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly initiatives with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations. During the past five years, the AT&T Foundation has contributed more than $5.7 million in grants to organizations serving mature adults across the country.
With its strong giving record, the AT&T Foundation is among the five largest corporate foundations in the United States and was ranked by Forbes magazine among the most generous corporate foundations in 2006.
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The OASIS Institute is a national education organization that strengthens communities by providing lifelong learning and service opportunities that inspire mature adults to pursue vibrant, healthy, productive and meaningful lives. For more information visit www.oasisnet.org
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