AT&T has announced an additional commitment of $10 million to create economic opportunities and support upward mobility for African-American and underserved communities facing long-standing social inequities and higher unemployment, all of which have been exacerbated by COVID-19.
The commitment will support workforce-readiness programs, local employee-led initiatives, and efforts to diversify technology and entrepreneurship talent pipelines. To that end, the company will provide $4.5 million in funding to organizations working to improve workforce readiness among under- and unemployed youth between the ages of 16 and 24; recipients include YouthBuild USA, Jobs for America's Graduates, and Year Up. Another $5.5 million will be directed to the employee-led AT&T Believes program, through which diverse local teams will decide how best to target funding and their volunteer time in support of economic empowerment and social justice initiatives.
In addition, AT&T will partner with Nex Cubed to cultivate technology development and entrepreneurship at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Among other things, the company will provide mentoring and ideation sessions starting this fall through its inaugural HBCU Founder's Program with the goal of encouraging students to design and develop business and technology concepts in the digital health, financial, housing, and education sectors.
"COVID-19 has had a disproportionately negative impact on Black and underserved communities," said Year Up founder and CEO Gerald Chertavian. "This has been compounded by social unrest, leaving many young people feeling unsupported and lacking access to meaningful career opportunities. Working with AT&T, we'll scale our services and connect more talented young people with the resources they need to succeed."
(Photo credit: AT&T)