Dallas-headquartered AT&T is adding $10 million to its contributions to Black and underserved communities, which have totaled $215 million in the past five years.
The latest commitment has been made to create economic opportunities and foster upward mobility for Black and underserved communities that have continued to face social inequities and higher unemployment rates, which have only been worsened by the ongoing pandemic, AT&T said.
“We’re refocusing our efforts to create more opportunities and paths to success for Black and underserved communities, building on our longstanding work to create economic prosperity for all in this country,” John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Inc., said in a statement.
AT&T has two key focus areas for 2020: workforce readiness and targeted local initiatives and supporting Black technology developers and entrepreneurs.
In May, unemployment for Black Americans reached 16.8 percent, which is the highest it’s been in more than 10 years. As part of this $10 million commitment, $4.5 million is expected to go toward national work readiness programs focused on under- and unemployed youth, according to a statement, including:
- Collaborating with YouthBuild USA to inspire innovative ways to place young people, including justice-involved youth, into full-time employment.
- Teaming with Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) to equip young people facing economic, environmental and academic challenges with emotional and educational support needed for high school and career success. AT&T will also help scale JAG’s online learning management tool so staff across the country can access digital trainings, best practices and resources.
- Expanding collaboration with Year Up, which provides young people career readiness through year-long corporate internships/college classes. AT&T has committed to host 200 Year Up interns at AT&T annually by 2022.
The employee-led AT&T BelievesSM program will also be examining the most urgent needs nationwide to decide where their volunteer time and $5.5 million of AT&T’s philanthropic support should go to support economic empowerment and social equality.
AT&T said its employees donated almost $30 million to more than 30,000 nonprofit organizations last year, along with 1.4 million volunteer hours.
In cities across the U.S., AT&T plans to expand and continue its support of preexisting programs. That includes organizations concentrated on reducing the number of people being displaced from their homes in Dallas, where 70 percent of the homeless population is Black, the company said.
To cultivate Black technology developers and entrepreneurs, AT&T is working with Nex Cubed to provide support at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The companies will be offering mentoring and ideation sessions through the HBCU Founder’s Program.
AT&T says increasing diverse viewpoints is critical to eliminate racial bias found in some of today’s tech with research finding racial bias in almost 200 facial recognition algorithms.
“We’re committed to locking arms with entrepreneurs and organizations such as AT&T that share our belief that having a diversity of ideas and perspectives is both the right thing to do and good for business,” Marlon Evans, Nex Cubed’s CEO, said in a statement.
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