AT&T And Teach For America Expand Computer Science Opportunities to Rio Grande Valley Students

$100,000 from AT&T Expands Access to Computer Science Programs to Teachers and Students in the Rio Grande Valley

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Mission, Texas, December 5, 2016—Teach For America announced today that it will further expand its Computer Science (CS) initiative, bringing additional high-quality opportunities to teachers and students in the Rio Grande Valley with support from AT&T. Through its signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, the technology company will contribute $100,000 to Teach For America–RGV toward quality professional development and resources for teachers reaching 7000 students in the Valley. The funds are part of a $900,000 donation from AT&T over the next two years to reach CS educators and the 2,500 students they’re teaching across the Bay Area, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Kansas City, Rio Grande Valley, South Carolina, and Washington D.C.

As members of the national CSforAll consortium, AT&T and Teach For America are committed to expanding access to CS education in low-income communities by connecting teachers and students to opportunities that develop career skills in technology. Additionally, AT&T’s support will help connect teachers to CS curriculum and professional development. AT&T is also continuing its support of the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) program, which aims to increase the number of highly skilled CS educators and advocates in underserved communities specifically focused on encouraging participation of students of color and female students in CS.

“Teach For America is a proven program and AT&T is proud to support their efforts to bring new and innovative opportunities to students and teachers in the Rio Grande Valley and across the country,” said J.D. Salinas, director of external affairs for AT&T-Texas. “AT&T is committed to supporting programs, like Teach For America, that are driving change in education and working to ensure students in the Valley and beyond are prepared to participate in a 21st Century workforce and economy.”

With the support of AT&T and the National Science Foundation, Teach For America formally launched its computer science initiative in 2015 to increase access to high-quality CS education and experiences in underserved communities.

“We are tremendously grateful for AT&T’s support because it will allow more students access to this growing and important field, said Dr. Paula Garcia, executive director of Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley. “Technology skills are crucial for our kids’ futures and this grant offers an exciting opportunity to close the digital divide for our low-income students, students of color and female students. Our teachers are deeply committed to connecting local students with the technology resources and tools that are essential in 21st century careers.”

Only one in four schools nationwide offer computer science classes, leaving many students—particularly students of color and those from low-income communities—without the foundational skills, exposure to teachers with CS backgrounds, and hands-on learning experiences to pursue CS in college and career. With over 500,000 jobs in computing available in the United States, but only 43,000 computer science students entering the workforce, the lack of early computer science experience prevents many promising students from taking advantage of the benefits computing has to offer. Five of the fastest-growing occupations in the country are computing occupations, and computing-related jobs provide among the highest entry-level salaries available to those holding a bachelor’s degree. Efforts to reverse this disparity must begin with bolstering Pre-K-12 CS education and expanding access to all students.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Corps members are teaching today in 53 urban and rural regions across the country. They join more than 12,000 alumni educators in a teaching force of 19,000 and an overall community that is 53,000 strong, working across every sector to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we’ve passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.

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