How one company is helping today's students become tomorrow's smart citizens

Tue, 2016-08-09 11:00 -- Doug Peeples

Many Council partners are helping educational institutions in a variety of ways. For example, Council Associate Partner Siemens is offering internships to select students at a community college to give them real-world preparation for a possible career with the company. And Microsoft has offered an educational version to help K-12 students learn to collaborate on projects in a digital environment. Those are just a few examples. Council Lead Partner AT&T has taken another approach by providing funding to help support and motivate students at risk of dropping out of high school. The story below explains the program and why technology companies are investing in ensuring today's students are tomorrow's smart citizens. — Doug Peeples

Two North Carolina Communities in Schools (CIS) organizations are among 18 recipients nationally that will share $10 million through Council Lead Partner AT&T's Aspire Connect to Success Competition. The funding is intended to help the recipient organizations provide support for students, work with them on college or career preparation and/or offering mentoring and other types of support to help underserved students graduate from high school.

"For every young person, a high school diploma is essential, not only for future success in academics or their career, but as a milestone which affirms they can accomplish what they set out to do," said Venessa Harrison, AT&T North Carolina president. "At AT&T, we see young people as the future of our company, our communities and our country. That's why, through Aspire, we support programs that invest in students, especially those who need it most, so they can walk across the graduation stage with excitement, prepared for success in the next chapter of their lives."

CIS of North Carolina will receive $750,000 to provide funding for the Powering the Future Program which focuses on students in grades 9-12 in six rural high schools. Those schools have graduation rates far below the state average and fewer than 25% of students perform adequately at their grade level. CIS of Wilkes County will receive $500,000 add seven rural high schools in high-poverty areas to its Increasing Intentionality Initiative. Of the 5,500 students in those Wilkes County CIS schools, more than 1,000 will received individualized services and assistance.

As part of the program, a CIS coordinator will be assigned to each school to coordinate and direct tailored efforts to work with students and improve graduation rates and student performance.

Aspire, AT&T's philanthropic initiative, has so far spent more than $250 million of the $350 million it earmarked to invest in education from 2008 to 2017.

For more on education...
If you're interested in learning more about the importance of education for smart cities, insights on how technology can improve education outcomes and other related discussions, click on the Health and Human Services chapter of the Smart Cities Readiness Guide.

Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.