AT&T Opens Connected Learning Center in South Los Angeles to Bridge the Digital Divide

AT&T Blog Team
October 12, 2022
AT&T


AT&T Opens Connected Learning Center in South Los Angeles to Bridge the Digital Divide

As part of company’s month-long “Bridge to Possibility” campaign, new dedicated learning center in Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC) Business Enterprise Center in South Los Angeles will provide internet connectivity, devices and digital learning resources for the community

What’s the news? AT&T* is opening a new Connected Learning Center inside the VSEDC Business Enterprise Center in South Los Angeles to provide internet access and education tools to those who face connectivity barriers holding them back from success in the digital world.

It’s part of the AT&T Connected Learning initiative and our $2 billion commitment from 2021 to 2023 to address the digital divide through internet accessibility, affordability and safe adoption. In addition, AT&T has made a $50,000 contribution towards VSEDC Technology Training Center programming. This is the third Connected Learning Center that AT&T has opened in Los Angeles.

The launch of this Connected Learning Center falls within AT&T’s month-long “Bridge to Possibility: Closing the digital divide, together” campaign. The campaign aims to drive awareness of the challenges caused by the digital divide and the collective response needed to address it. Bridging the digital divide requires businesses, nonprofits and government to come together for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring high-quality connectivity to millions of people that need it most.

As part of this campaign, in Los Angeles, a device distribution event will take place on October 19 at the Al Wooten Jr. Youth Center.

This Connected Learning Center is one of 20 centers AT&T is opening across the country by the end of the year. The centers will be housed within local organizations that support underserved populations, including some of our nation’s most vulnerable students and families. The goal of the centers is to encourage more families to get connected through free access to the internet and education resources that teach the value of broadband and how to use it safely and effectively.

Why is this important? In Los Angeles, it’s estimated that  nearly 150,000, or 30% of  K-12 students1 don’t have access to the internet, computers or skills needed to benefit from the online world, an issue known as the digital divide.

“Vermont Slauson EDC continues to be a leader in developing entrepreneurs by utilizing technology as a central theme for growth.  The partnership between VSEDC and AT&T is an example of how opportunities are created for the South Los Angeles area community,” said Senator Sydney K. Kamlager (D – Los Angeles).  “The AT&T Connected Learning Center provides a tremendous resource for our youth, as well as adults and seniors.  I want to congratulate AT&T for their continued investment in communities of color and partnering with VSEDC in this effort to effect change.”

“Our investment in the AT&T Connected Learning Center at the VSEDC Business Enterprise Center in Los Angeles directly reflects our commitment to get more Americans connected and make an impact in the communities we serve,” said Marc Blakeman, President of AT&T California. “The center will give local families access to free internet connectivity, educational and mentoring resources to help them succeed in digital school and job environments.” 

How we will make it happen

The new center will help to bridge the digital divide by providing free access to range of digital resources all under one roof, including: high-speed AT&T Fiber internet, Wi-Fi, Dell Technologies computers, free education resources, and tutoring and mentoring from AT&T employees.

The free education resources within the center will help students and families participate in digital engagement. These include The Achievery, a free digital learning platform created by AT&T, as well as free digital literacy courses and workshops created with the Public Library Association.

AT&T is partnering with four local organizations to host free digital literacy workshops in the greater Los Angeles area: Westchester YMCA on Oct. 10 at 12 p.m.; Carson Family YMCA on Oct. 18 at 10:30 a.m.; Inglewood Public Library on Oct. 13 and 17 at 11 a.m.; YMCA of Greater Long Beach. 10/25 at 11a.m.

As part of its ongoing commitment to championing digital inclusion for underserved communities, Dell Technologies donated Dell OptiPlex computers and Dell monitors which feature integrated audio and webcams to support virtual learning. Overland-Tandberg, a Black-owned company, is part of AT&T’s Supplier Diversity Initiative. The leading global technology and IT services company led the onsite configuration of the computers.

“At VSEDC we don’t believe technology is of the future, but rather now,” said Joseph T. Rouzan, III, President and CEO of VSEDC. “By hosting AT&T’s Connected Learning Center in South LA, we are able to equip our future generation with technical skills for meaningful and self-sustaining careers.”

VSEDC’s primary mission is to empower business owners of South Los Angeles to build their businesses and thrive. The non-profit organization achieves this by providing small business owners and entrepreneurs, technical assistance, one-on-one business coaching, free online business courses in English and Spanish, access to technology through two state-of-the-art technology centers including the new AT&T Connected Learning Center, a business incubator, and affordable small business loans with their CDFI revolving loan fund.

How else are we supporting underserved communities?

AT&T supports the greater Los Angeles area community by providing funding to local community organizations tackling the digital divide, including organizations that work with youth, adults, and underrepresented communities. AT&T has committed nearly $550,000 in contributions to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, DIY Girls, Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund, School on Wheels, Andres y Maria Cardenas Family Foundation and the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, among others, to close the digital divide and make an impact in the lives of Californians.

We offer affordable internet options

AT&T is committed to connecting more Americans to reliable, high-speed broadband internet in several ways, including expanding and upgrading our network and participating in the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP provides eligible households with a benefit of up to $30 a month (up to $75 on qualifying Tribal lands) to reduce the cost of broadband service and can be applied to AT&T Fiber.

Additionally, those who qualify can apply ACP benefits to Access from AT&T to get internet speeds of up to 100Mbps, where available, for $0. After confirming ACP eligibility,  those who qualify can call us at 866-986-0963 to discuss options and order service and must have their National Verifier application ID available.

We are expanding our network

In addition to our community investment in Los Angeles, we also continue to invest in bringing fiber and connectivity to this area. From 2019-2021 we expanded coverage and improved connectivity with nearly $2.6 billion invested in our wireless and wireline networks in Los Angeles. AT&T Fiber covers more than 9.3 million fiber strand miles in the California.2

Learn more at att.com/connectedlearning.

1 Digital Bridge K-12

2 As of July 31, 2021

About VSEDC

Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC) is a South Los Angeles community-based nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) recognized for its decades of technical and business assistance to South LA small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs. The services VSEDC provides serve to drive community self-sufficiency, facilitate business growth, access affordable housing, goods and services, and help create jobs. VSEDC’s free one-on-one business coaching and year-round business webinars, affordable small business loans from our CDFI revolving loan fund, and our dual tech centers – AT&T Connected Learning Center and South LA Best Buy Teen Tech Center – contribute to the development and progression of South LA. Find out more about VSEDC at vsedc.org, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

*About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

We’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities and improving lives. As part of our companywide $2 billion commitment from 2021 to 2023 to address the digital divide, we launched AT&T Connected Learning to invest in connectivity and technology, digital literacy and education solutions to help today’s learners succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Since 2008, we’ve committed more than $600 million to programs that help millions of students across all 50 states and around the world, particularly those in underserved communities.