As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th – October 15th, it’s important to reflect on what each of our companies and organizations are doing to promote cultural awareness and inclusion of the Hispanic/Latino community.
Inclusiveness is built into AT&T’s company culture, and diversity at all levels of our workforce is critical to our success. I’m proud to work for a company that signed the Hispanic Promise, a first-of-its-kind national pledge to hire, promote, retain and celebrate Hispanics in the workplace. The Hispanic/Latino community makes up 15.9% of AT&T’s workforce in the U.S. and continues to grow, as does their impact on our economy.
Having the largest racial or ethnic minority population in the U.S.1, Hispanics contribute significantly to the U.S. economy.
- The GDP produced by the Latino community in the U.S. in 2017 was $2.3 trillion.2
- GDP among the Latino community also grew at a faster rate than the overall U.S. economy in that time.3
- There are 4.7 million Hispanic-owned businesses that, combined, contribute over $700 billion to the American economy every year.4
While we celebrate the significant contributions of Hispanics/Latinos to our communities and companies, we must address the negative impact COVID-19 has had on them. According to the Brookings Institution, job and wage losses due to COVID-19 have hit Latino adults the hardest and 33% of Latino parents/primary caregivers have either seen their business shut down and/or have experienced significant drops in revenue. Latino Americans are also more likely than non-Hispanic whites to contract COVID-19 and to face disproportionately high mortality rates when they contract the virus.
What is AT&T doing to help?
At AT&T, our core value to Stand for Equality has never been more relevant, not only inside AT&T but outside, as well. It is a business imperative to champion equality, diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our business. That’s why we recently committed an additional $10 million this year to create economic opportunities and foster upward mobility for underserved communities who face long-standing social inequities and higher unemployment, all of which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of this commitment, AT&T New York supports organizations that help create sustainable progress for underserved communities in the state such as Fordham University’s Mentoring Latinas program. Over the past 11 years, we provided more than $500,000 to this innovative mentoring program—it brings adolescent Latinas, daughters of immigrant families, onto college campuses to be mentored by Latina college women.5 We are also proud of our ongoing support for young Latino men. Through All Star Code’s summer immersion program in New York City, Black and Latino young men have the opportunity to gain valuable computer coding skills.6
Across the country, we’re working with many organizations to support their mission to advocate for the Hispanic/Latino community, including National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), National Hispanic Council of State Legislators (NHCSL), UnidosUS, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Latino Coalition, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), Hispanic Federation, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, Mexican American Women’s National Association (MANA), and Hispanic Heritage Foundation.
For decades, AT&T has worked to better serve our Hispanic/Latino customers and communities, and that work continues today as we remain committed more than ever to be a leader in diversity and inclusion.
AT&T Celebrating Back to School:
From virtual classrooms to hybrid schools, the 2020 fall semester is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. At its peak, school closures affected at least 55.1 million students, and many are now learning from home due to COVID-19.7 For students, parents and teachers, that means creating the best digital learning environment is key. Yet, 15% of U.S. households with school-aged children lack high-speed internet connectivity.8 AT&T is committed to helping close the digital divide, and we recognize we need to do more to make it a reality.
In his recent op-ed9, our CEO John Stankey outlines how we can meet the goal of bringing high-speed broadband to every American family.
To help address the immediate needs of education initiatives across the country, we created a $10 million Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund. The Fund provides parents, teachers and students with the tools they need for at home learning, including a more than $1 million contribution to support teacher-focused non-profit organizations.
Across New York, AT&T supports innovative programs and initiatives for students and teachers, from Buffalo to New York City, like:
- Donating thousands of face masks to retuning students in Albany
- As schools reopen, partnering with WarnerMedia to provide essential childcare for working families at YMCA locations in the highest need areas across New York City
- Supporting a giveaway of backpacks with school supplies and PPE to students in Brooklyn.
We also collaborated with community stakeholders to offer free science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs this summer to help students prepare for the school year, including:
- A two-week virtual summer STEM camp for 60 under-resourced students in Rochester
- An in-person (socially distanced and masked up) program in Buffalo where public school students learned to make 3D created prosthetic hands for children in need in developing countries
- An all-girls virtual coding camp for Black and girls of color in Yonkers
We continue to work with remarkable educational and community organizations across the Empire State to help ensure our students have resources and opportunities to learn and thrive during these uncertain times. We are also very excited about a number of additional programs coming this fall and early winter.
On behalf of AT&T and myself, I wish all parents, teachers, school administrators—and especially students—the best of luck returning to school and staying safe.
7 Map: Coronavirus and School Closures (2020, March 6). Education Week. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/map-coronavirus-and-school-closures.html; School Districts’ Reopening Plans: A Snapshot (2020, July 15). Education Week. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/school-districts-reopening-plans-a-snapshot.html
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