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AT&T Launches $250 Million Program to Boost Graduation Rates With Focus on Innovation & Technology - Connecticut Organizations Urged to Apply

EAST HARTFORD, Conn., April 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* today announced the launch of a new $250 million, 5-year financial commitment aimed at helping more students graduate from high school with the skills they need to succeed in college and careers.

The funding for AT&T Aspire – already among the most significant U.S. corporate educational initiatives, with more than $100 million invested since 2008 – will be available for organizations and institutions with a proven track record of success that are looking to use technology to connect with students in new and effective ways.

At an event today at the YMCA of East Hartford, AT&T urged Connecticut organizations to apply for Aspire funding. AT&T was joined by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and officials from the town of East Hartford and the YMCA in its support for efforts to improve local graduation rates.

"I applaud AT&T's forward-thinking initiative to educate, inspire, and invest in Connecticut's talented students," said Senator Blumenthal.  "A commitment to education and the community is a commitment to Connecticut's future."

The East Hartford YMCA O'Brien School Age Child Development program offers quality after school care for elementary age children. YMCA after school programs, funded in part by AT&T, nurture young people by providing a safe place to learn foundational skills, develop healthy, trusting relationships and build self-reliance. 

"We are happy to host AT&T today as they launch their Aspire program in Connecticut. Their goal of helping more students graduate from high school aligns perfectly with our vision to work in partnership with others to eliminate the disparities in education," said James Morton, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Hartford.

Between now and April 27, 2012, AT&T is encouraging Connecticut State organizations to apply for funding through the Local High School Impact Initiative Requests for Proposals (RFPs).

"AT&T Aspire works toward an America where every student graduates high school equipped with the knowledge and skills to strengthen the nation's workforce," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said while announcing the extended commitment during a keynote address last month at the second annual Building a Grad Nation Summit.

The Washington, D.C., event convened by America's Promise Alliance (, Civic Enterprises (, The Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University (, and the Alliance for Excellent Education ( brought together nearly 1,200 U.S. leaders to discuss progress and challenges in ending the high school dropout crisis.

"This is a significant investment in preparing the next generation of Americans to succeed in the increasingly competitive global economy," said Rodney Smith, President of AT&T Connecticut.  "We hope organizations across Connecticut with a passion for dealing with this problem and a proven track record of success in increasing graduation rates will apply for funding."

The new and expanded AT&T commitment builds on the work AT&T Aspire has completed in the last four years, impacting more than one million U.S. high school students by helping them prepare for success in the workplace and college. 

AT&T is looking to fund local programs that have strong, evidence-based practices grounded in the What Works Clearinghouse Dropout Prevention: A Practice Guide and data-driven outcomes demonstrated to improve high school graduation rates.

Connecticut organizations interested in getting additional information or applying will find complete details on the RFP process at by clicking on the "Aspire Local Impact RFP" option.  Applications will be accepted between now and April 27.

Drop-out rates are a serious issue in the United States. According to a report recently issued by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America's Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, one in four students in the U.S. – more than 1 million each year – drops out. (AT&T is the lead sponsor of this report.)

Education experts believe that the lack of a high school degree significantly worsens job prospects, particularly in the challenging science, technology and math sectors. 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.(1)

Although the problem is serious, there are signs of progress according to the recent report issued today:

  • The high school graduation rate increased by 3.5 percentage points nationally from 2001 to 2009.
  • In 2001, the rate was 72.0 percent; by 2009, it had risen to 75.5 percent. From 2002 to 2009, six states experienced large gains in their graduation rates; 14 states made moderate gains; and four states made modest gains  (Note: 2002 was the first year that state data became available.)

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile broadband and emerging 4G capabilities, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries.  It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T | DIRECTV brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. 

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at  This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at and as part of an RSS feed at Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT.

About Philanthropy at AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives and working with other organizations, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2011, more than $115 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.

About The YMCA of Greater Hartford

The YMCA of Greater Hartford is a non profit 501 (c) 3 charitable organization established in 1852 and is one of the nation's oldest YMCA's. The YMCA for Youth Development: Nurturing the potential of every child and teen, for Healthy Living: Improving the nation's health and well-being, for Social Responsibility: Giving back and providing support to our neighbors.  In 2011 the YMCA of Greater Hartford served more than 111,000 people, including 66,000 children, in 52 towns and cities throughout the Capital Region. YMCA programs put the values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility into practice to build healthy spirit, mind and body for all participants.

(1) "The College Payoff," Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce [August 2011]


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