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AT&T: Reshaping the education model to expand the tech workforce

Monday, June 30, 2014  
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Reshaping the education model to expand the tech workforce

John Donovan

June 16, 2014

Advances in technology have rapidly changed the way many of us live and work. 

In just a few years, ubiquitous mobile broadband has made possible all of the things we do on smartphones and tablets each day. The Internet of things is bringing billions of devices onto the network, delivering new capabilities and efficiencies to a broad range of global industries.

To accomplish more with technology, companies need a workforce with advanced technology skills. But education models evolve slowly. To drive innovation in business, public and private sectors both need to invest in resources designed to help bring new skill sets to the workforce.

We’re not waiting for someone else to solve this problem. 

Last year, we teamed up with Georgia Tech and Udacity to offer the country’s first Online Master of Science degree in computer science. The program is making technology degrees accessible to more people, at a lower cost.

Today, we’re announcing a new collaboration with Udacity. It’s called the nanodegree, and it will be delivered through the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform for software development skills. The nanodegree is designed to be completed within 6-12 months at a lower cost compared to traditional college degree programs. 

Students who complete the nanodegree program will be certified for the skills they learn and qualify for software development jobs at AT&T. We’re planning to ensure the nanodegree is available to diverse populations – working with Udacity and non-profit groups to offer full scholarships. AT&T will offer up to 100 internships to nanodegree graduates. We’re also encouraging our employees to pursue tech skill development opportunities like the nanodegree program.

Obviously, this new model benefits AT&T. Our technology-driven business requires a workforce pool with the skills we need to advance the network of the future.   

But the industry wins too.  We expect other employers to recognize the nanodegree, and companies are developing their own NanoDegrees for the workforce. Students with the certification should be more prepared for success in technology-driven careers. And we believe our efforts to re-shape and accelerate technology education will help strengthen U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

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