1 Million Hours, Unlimited Potential

Oct 3, 2012 6:00 AM ET

1 Million Hours, Unlimited Potential

By: Janice Evans-Page

One of the reasons why I love being an AT&T employee is the fact that I get to work with exceptional people every day. 

AT&T employees are a dedicated and diverse group of individuals, each with a different story to tell and a unique skill set  that collectively have helped make us the No. 1 communications company in the world. We are 240,000-strong, with the proven capacity to make a real impact in the communities where we live and work.  This has been especially true when given the opportunity to work with teens to help them connect to their best possible futures. 

Our employees have already shown that they are willing to step up to make a difference.  They have inspired us through their participation in our job shadow program in collaboration with Junior Achievement during the last four years, helping more than 100,000 students realize their potential and obtain the skills they need to succeed in college and in careers.  And now we’re building on that success and launching Aspire Mentoring Academy to take these efforts to a new level by offering employees three ways to mentor students across the country who are at risk of dropping out of high school:

  • Aspire Job Mentoring:  Building on AT&T’s job shadow program, employees share life experiences and career advice through project-based activities during the workday.
  • Aspire Skills Mentoring:  Employees share academic and life skills with students through self-planned or organized activities in schools and in the community.
  •  Aspire e-Mentoring:  Utilizing technology, employees share math skills and its relevance in the real world through online mentoring, starting in a San Francisco Bay Area pilot program and expanding next year. 

Aspire Mentoring Academy is the key community engagement program of AT&T Aspire, our $350 million commitment focused on high school success leading to college and career readiness.

And today, we’re thrilled to announce an unprecedented goal – to provide students with 1 million hours of mentoring!

To ensure we are meeting the needs of our employees and our student participants, we are working with educational non-profit leaders in the field of student mentoring, such as Junior Achievement, We Teach Science and The LEAD Program to develop and support Aspire Mentoring Academy.  These experts will help us ensure the unique skill sets of our employees will be put to use in the most effective ways possible.

Almost all of us can identify a mentor who helped guide us during important periods in our lives.  As for me, I remember my 7th grade math teacher, Mr. Flaherty.  He was the one who helped me realize that I had a “gift of knowledge,” as he put it.  Through his support, I realized that it actually was cool to have this “hidden” talent.  Mentors continue to play a role in my professional career.  I am inspired to continuously share that “gift of knowledge” with high school students and professionals alike.

Aspire Mentoring Academy provides the opportunity for employees to be that memorable person in a young person’s life – helping students stay on track to graduate from high school and succeed  in college, the workforce and beyond.  As we launch this program, we look forward to being a part of and reporting back these success stories, and seeing how the program improves both the lives of the students, and those who are mentoring them.