Birmingham-Area Teens Learn Workforce Skills through AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy - JA In The News | Junior Achievement of Alabama

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Birmingham-Area Teens Learn Workforce Skills through AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy

Students are shown here enjoying listening to AT&T Coordinator, Lori Varnedoe. Varnedoe shared her personal story of success and why AT&T has committed to helping students.

Students are shown here listening to AT&T Coordinator, Lori Varnedoe. Varnedoe shared her personal story of success and why AT&T has committed to helping students discover their path to success. 

Birmingham, AL – Investing time to help teens develop skills for future success can be a gift that lasts a lifetime. That’s why AT&T has continued its partnership with Junior Achievement of Greater Birmingham to mentor 500 Birmingham Area students during the 2014-15 school year. A total of 51 Junior Achievement Areas across the United States have been invited to participate in Aspire Mentoring Academy as part of the national collaboration.


Today, students from Wenonah High School’s Academy of Hospitality & Tourism attended AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy at the AT&T Alabama Operations Center campus on Highway 280. During this regular business workday, employees shared life experiences and career advice through project-based activities, completed problem-solving activities in a group setting, and provided resources to students for career planning.  “I believe AT&T’s partnership with Junior Achievement gives employees an opportunity to give back and help young people in Birmingham prepare for their future,” said Chrys Gibbs, AT&T Network Force Load Analyst. “By bringing students directly into the workplace, the JA Job Shadow experience shows them how education and training translate to success on the job.”


Providing young people with real-world learning experiences can be key to improving U.S. high school graduation rates.  More than 1 million students each year—1 in every 4—do not graduate on time with their class. LaToya Garrett, Senior Program Manager for Junior Achievement of Greater Birmingham, noted, "Junior Achievement is working to improve high school graduation rates by helping students connect the dots from the classroom to the real-world and better understand the skills they need to be successful not only in the classroom but in life. We are honored to work with wonderful educators and collaborate with AT&T to address this critical social and economic issue."


"We are excited to be teaming up with Junior Achievement, a leader in the field of student mentoring, as we mobilize our employees to provide 1 million hours of mentoring," said Janiece Evans-Page, Assistant Vice President – Community Engagement at AT&T. "This is just the beginning of a program that will help us put the skills, knowledge and passion of our employees to work in our communities."


To learn more about Aspire Mentoring Academy visit



About Community Engagement at AT&T

Aspire Mentoring Academy is the key community engagement program of AT&T's $350 million investment in education, which is among the most significant U.S. corporate education initiatives. The program, which has impacted over 1 million students in all 50 states since its initial launch in 2008, drives innovation in education through proven programs that address the high school dropout crisis and taps into the power of personal connections involving many of AT&T’s approximately 240,000 employees.  Through the program, the company's employees are engaging in their communities with a goal to provide 1 million hours of mentoring to students.


At AT&T, Community Engagement means engaging our employees to build strong, connected, and thriving communities where we live and do business.  Employees are focused on three key issues: improving educational outcomes, building sustainable communities and promoting the responsible use of technology.  In 2011, employees and retirees donated 6 million hours of time to community outreach activities and pledged more than $33 million for charities of their choice through the United Way/Employee Giving campaign.  Employees also committed to more than 21,000 sustainable choices through Do One Thing (DOT), which invites employees to make small, everyday choices that add up to a big positive impact for themselves, the community and/or the company.


1 Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, Annual Update 2012, Alliance for Excellent Education, America's Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University (March 19, 2012)

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