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AT&T Announces Quarter-Billion-Dollar Expansion of Education Commitment

Monday, March 19, 2012  
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AT&T Takes ‘Socially Innovative' Approach with the Launch of a Quarter-Billion-Dollar Campaign to Boost Workplace Readiness


Education experts believe that the lack of a high school degree significantly worsens job prospects in a rapidly changing, increasingly sophisticated job market. According to a recent report sponsored by AT&T and written by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, lacking a high school degree is a serious issue in the United States: one in four students— more than 1 million each year— drops out of school. And, if dropouts find jobs, they earn less.

In fact, on average, a high school dropout earns 25 percent less during the course of his or her lifetime, compared with a high school graduate, and 57 percent less than a college graduate with a bachelor's degree.In order to combat high school dropout rates, AT&Tthis monthlaunched a quarter-billion-dollar campaign to help more students graduate from high school ready for careers and college and to ensure the country is better prepared to meet global competition.

AT&T Aspire is already among the most significant U.S. corporate educational initiatives with more than $100 million invested since 2008 — $923 million since 1984 — in education.

Our new socially innovative approach that we just announced will tackle high school success and college and career readiness through a new $250 million commitment.

"America's Promise Alliance was founded on the belief that young people must be our nation's greatest priority. Helping youth achieve their full potential is not just good for our country, it's good for business. AT&T understands this and is demonstrating that through its Aspire program.”
— Gen. Colin L. Powell, (USA) Ret., founding chairman, America's Promise Alliance



Collaborating with innovators, educators and other companies at AT&T Foundry ( to blaze new ground in developing solutions to improve education. For example, the company will sponsor challenges or contests for mobile application developers to create cutting-edge solutions to complex problems in our educational system.

Expanding strategic alliances with organizations that specialize in developing and marketing new interactive learning tools that better engage today's students.



Because AT&T employees have asked for more opportunities to engage with students and contribute to their success, AT&T will launch the Aspire Mentoring Academy later this year. The academy will enable employees to help students at risk of dropping out of school succeed in the classroom and in life.

Inspiring more AT&T customers, companies and stakeholders to step up to the challenge of addressing the education crisis.



Deepening the financial commitment to local education-focused groups that deliver results.

Making local contributions to community organizations that specialize in helping students and improving the quality of education.

For details on Aspire grant applications, visit, and click on the "Aspire Local Impact RFP” option.


"Improving our public schools to ensure student success is a goal we share with AT&T. Through our network of educators and resources, we are committed to working with private partners to strengthen public education. AT&T's Aspire program recognizes that education is critical to the development of our future workforce, and it lays the foundation for healthy communities. We appreciate this ongoing investment in such important work."
— Dennis Van Roekel, President, National Education Association (NEA)


Wealsojust launched @ATTAspireto encourage conversation around education in America. Join the discussion and follow us today! Use the hashtag#IAspireTo to join the conversation and learn more about our commitment.

Between now and April 18, AT&T is also encouraging eligible organizations to submit applications to pre-qualify for possible funding opportunities through the Local High School Impact Initiative Requests for Proposals (RFPs). AT&T is most interested in funding local programs that have strong, evidence-based practices grounded in the What Works Clearinghouse Dropout Prevention: A Practice Guide, as well as other data-driven outcomes demonstrated to improve high school graduation rates. More information on the RFP process and eligibility requirements is available at

There is little doubt that the dropout rate produces youth who are ill-equipped to enter the workforce, creating a serious risk to American competitiveness. But, there are signs of progress, according to the 2011-2012 Building a Grad Nation Annual Update released today:

The high school graduation rate increased by 3.5 percentage points nationally from 2001 to 2009.

In 2001, the graduation rate was 72 percent; by 2009, it had risen to 75.5 percent.

And the number of "dropout factory” high schools (a high school where 12th-grade enrollment is 60 percent or less than the 9th-grade enrollment three years previously) dropped from 2,007 to 1,550 from 2002 to 2010— a 23 percent decrease.

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