bringing education to more students

AT&T has long believed that an educated workforce benefits all of us. Education is critical to our company’s success and to the long-term health of the U.S. economy.

We introduced AT&T Aspire in 2008 with an initial $100 million commitment to address the U.S. high school drop out crisis. In 2012, we committed an additional $250 million to help more students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers. And in early 2014, we announced plans to invest $100 million to bring mobile broadband access to middle-school students and their teachers.

AT&T Aspire has reached more than 1 million students in all
50 states since 2008. Since the launch of our Aspire Mentoring Academy, AT&T employees have spent more than 330,000 hours advising students — putting us well on the way to our goal of 1 million hours by 2016. And in total our employees volunteered more than 5.3 million hours of their time in 2013.

Now we’re looking for ways to use the technology at the heart of our business to make education more accessible to people of all ages. For example, we’re getting tablets into the hands of more K-12 students. And we’re establishing a ground-breaking new program that lets students earn an advanced degree in computer science without ever setting foot on campus. Last year, we teamed with Georgia Tech and Udacity to announce the first-ever accredited degree program that operates entirely on a “massive-online” platform. And in early 2014 380 students, including about 80 from AT&T, began coursework to earn an online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS).

“The fast pace of my technology career and family life made a traditional on-campus master’s degree nearly impossible,” says James Alexander. “This program gives me the flexibility to do my job and be with my family even while I work toward my degree. I can fit courses into my schedule — including studying at home after my kid goes to bed. And the skills I’m gaining will help me be even better at my job and will open new opportunities for me.”

The program lets students continue to work while earning their degrees. And students will pay less than $7,000 for a graduate degree from Georgia Tech’s top-10-rated computer science program. That’s one-fifth the price tag of traditional on-campus master’s degree programs.

AT&T contributed $2 million to get this innovative program off the ground. And now we’re using the program to help train our own workforce and give them the critical technology skills they need to support our business. In fact, including those who will start in summer or fall 2014, more than 200 AT&T employees have been accepted into the degree program, with tuition costs reimbursed by our company. We’re also encouraging employees to participate in new online non-degree certificate programs offered by Georgia Tech and Udacity, giving our people just one more way to gain valuable skills in computer science.

“As our business evolves, AT&T needs more highly skilled software and network engineers and data scientists,” said Bill Blase, senior executive vice president, human resources. “This approach is revolutionizing higher education. It’s making an advanced curriculum more accessible and affordable. And it’s helping us equip our current employees for future success, while also building a pipeline for AT&T’s next-generation workforce.”

AT&T's 137-year history of innovation is a story about people from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds coming together to connect people to their world … anywhere, anytime and on any device. Our diverse, inclusive culture welcomes all points of view and makes us who we are: a great place to work, a desired business partner and a committed member of our communities. Our inclusive culture is something we live every day — our employees expect it and our customers and shareholders benefit from it.