Washington, DC Teens Access Tech Careers and Offer Tech Support Services to Their Communities with Help from AT&T

AT&T Blog Team
September 15, 2020
Community Impact

Washington, DC Teens Access Tech Careers and Offer Tech Support Services to Their Communities with Help from AT&T

As part of its long-standing commitment to address racial inequity, AT&T is increasing its investment in economic opportunities for Black and underserved communities, particularly youth who want to pursue technology and engineering careers but who have traditionally had little access to those careers.

AT&T contributed $100,000 to On-Ramps to Careers, a local nonprofit that provides technology career opportunities for young people in the District, helping the organization grow 200 tech internships this summer for Black and underserved students to work virtually at companies like Accenture, Acquired Data Solutions, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer, Virginia Tech and UNCF, among many others.  The investment will help On-Ramps grow those opportunities to 2,000 over the next five years, including support for alumni to pursue tech careers through college and into the workforce.

AT&T’s support also helped On-Ramps to Careers pilot the city’s first ever youth-led technology call center as part of those 200 internships this summer.  The technology “help desk” empowered youth to support other students and families engaged in distance learning this summer. This model of peer-to-peer support employed more than 30 students and is being considered for expansion this school year. It is setting an example of how youth can support their own communities and peers in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

The young people of On-Ramps to Careers are nearly all Black and Latinx students predominantly from Wards 5,7 and 8 who On Ramps to Careers helps to stay engaged and focused on their futures while also helping them to provide for their families this year and beyond.

“Coming into 2020, we already knew how important it is to prepare our young people for careers in tech. Now, with so much of our life going online, it is critical that we connect our young people to new and existing opportunities,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We have exceptionally talented students in DC, and through partnerships like this one, we are thrilled that they will have more opportunities to learn, grow, and change the world.”

Robert Holm, founder and director of On-Ramps to Careers added:

AT&T’s support encouraged us to launch On-Ramps to Careers in 2013, and their commitment at this crucial time shows how much they care about addressing racial inequity in our Nation’s Capital in a fundamental way – by investing in our young people.”

Holm added AT&T’s contribution is the largest private sector contribution in the organization’s history.

This initiative is part of our Believe DCSM program, which harnesses our employees’ generosity, supports it with company resources and joins with collaborators to make an even bigger impact on local communities and society at large. This is part of a broader $10 million effort by AT&T to address social inequity through support for education and career readiness programs for underserved people and cultivating Black technology development and entrepreneurship at historically black colleges and universities.

“This innovative program addresses education, workforce and other needs of underserved Black communities.”

Denis Dunn – President, AT&T Washington DC

“We know there is much more that must be addressed when it comes to racial inequities across every facet of society – education, health care, economic opportunities and jobs – across our communities,” said Denis Dunn, president, AT&T-Washington, DC. “We’ve been working with On-Ramps to Careers for years and have been inspired by what they’ve been able to do to help young people strengthen their skills and prepare for their futures. This innovative program addresses education, workforce and other needs of underserved Black communities. At AT&T, we do more than just live and work in these neighborhoods. We also BELIEVE in them.”