Connecting Rincon College Students to a Brighter Future

Marc Blakeman, President, AT&T California and Pacific States
April 26, 2024
Broadband Access and Affordability

Connecting Rincon College Students to a Brighter Future

To succeed in college, students need the basics like internet access to conduct research, study for tests and take courses online. But not all college students have access to critical high-speed internet. Students like Toko, who lives on the Rincon Reservation in San Diego County, California, and Javier, a local college student, didn’t always have the internet access they needed to thrive in their college courses. 

At the Rincon Reservation, there was a great need to expand affordable broadband access to help bridge the digital divide for its residents. To help connect the reservation, we worked with the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians to open an AT&T Connected Learning Center (CLC) at the Rincon Education Department center on the tribal lands. It was the first AT&T CLC on tribal land in the U.S. – we now have 3 CLCs on tribal land and a total of 40 across the country, with plans to pass 50 centers by mid-2024. 

Connecting to a brighter future 

Attending college locally, Towkish “Toko” Sass, who lives on the Rincon Reservation, and Javier Delgado, a local college student who serves at a tutor at the CLC, both use the CLC resources to complete work for their college courses.  

Since the CLC opened in February 2023, they’ve had access to vital learning resources close to home, enabling them to pursue educational opportunities that were previously out of reach.  

Javier, a 4th year college student, is pursuing a degree in Child Development and says the reliable internet connectivity, quiet work environment and educational setting has allowed him to complete online courses and stay connected with his peers and instructors. “Overall, having access to the technology and support at the Connected Learning Center has helped me keep up with my courses and achieve my goals in higher education.” 

Toko, a 2nd year college student, is thankful for the CLC as it’s a place he can work without any distractions, use the computers and access the internet for completing assignments. “Where I live, I don’t really have all the stuff or technology I need for my assignments, but the Connected Learning Center has everything I need to be successful in college.” 

Our 7 AT&T Connected Learning Centers in California, including 2 on Tribal land, currently serve thousands of students, families and older adults. We are excited to open more centers in communities that need them most in 2024 – including in both rural and urban areas. We will again collaborate with community-based organizations adept at providing for the needs of the communities they serve, including Boys & Girls Clubs and California Tribal Nations. 

The impact on the lives of Javier and Toko are just two examples of our ongoing efforts to bridge the digital divide and empower underserved communities through access to technology and education.  

Committed to California 

We’re excited to continue our efforts and make a significant impact in California this year. We’re planning a series of initiatives in 2024 that aim to help bridge the digital divide across the Golden State and bolster connectivity, especially in underserved communities. 

On a broader scale, AT&T is upping our commitment from $2 billion to $5 billion to help 25 million Americans get and stay connected to reliable, affordable internet and obtain digital literacy resources by 2030. 

Our purpose for 2024 is clear: to increase digital access, enhance digital literacy, and ensure that every Californian has the tools and resources they need to thrive in our digital world. Together, we can help bridge the digital divide and create a more connected California. 

p.after-p sub span { line-height: 20px !important; }