ATLANTA, Oct. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Junior Achievement launches its collaboration with AT&T this week to provide students at risk of dropping out of high school with workplace mentoring by AT&T employees.
On Thursday, Junior Achievement of Georgia students from Atlanta's Cross Keys High School will attend AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy at its corporate campus in midtown Atlanta, in the first of many job mentoring sessions across the country during the 2012-13 school year.
Aspire Mentoring Academy is the key community engagement program of AT&T's $350 million investment in its Aspire program, which is focused on high school success leading to college and career readiness. Through the program, the company's employees are engaging in their communities with a goal to provide 1 million hours of mentoring to students at-risk of dropping out of high school.
Building on the success of the earlier AT&T/JA Job Shadow initiative, which provided students with more than 100,000 job shadow opportunities, AT&T employees will share life experiences and career advice through project-based activities during the workday.
Providing young people with real-world learning experiences can be key to improving U.S. high school graduation rates. More than 1 million students each year – 1 in every 4 -- do not graduate on time with their class.
According to the landmark study commissioned by The Gates Foundation, The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts, more than 4 in every 5 (or 81 percent) of high school dropouts interviewed indicated that providing them with real-world learning experiences would have helped them stay in school.
Jack Harris, president of Junior Achievement of Georgia, noted, "Junior Achievement is working to improve high school graduation rates by helping students connect the dots from the classroom to the real-world and better understand the skills they need to be successful in the global economy. We are honored to collaborate with AT&T to address this critical social and economic issue."
"We are excited to be teaming up with Junior Achievement, a leader in the field of student mentoring, as we mobilize our employees to provide 1 million hours of mentoring," said Janiece Evans-Page, Assistant Vice President – Community Engagement at AT&T. "This is just the beginning of a program that will help us put the skills, knowledge and passion of our employees to work in our communities."
To learn more about Aspire Mentoring Academy visit www.att.com/aspirementoring.
About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches 4.2 million students per year in more than 120 markets across the United States, with an additional 6.5 million students served by operations in 117 other countries worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.
About Community Engagement at AT&T
At AT&T, Community Engagement means engaging our employees to build strong, connected, and thriving communities where we live and do business. Employees are focused on three key issues: improving educational outcomes, building sustainable communities and promoting the responsible use of technology. In 2011, employees and retirees donated 6 million hours of time to community outreach activities and pledged more than $33 million for charities of their choice through the United Way/Employee Giving campaign. Employees also committed to more than 21,000 sustainable choices through Do One Thing (DOT), which invites employees to make small, everyday choices that add up to a big positive impact for themselves, the community and/or the company.
 Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, Annual Update 2012, Alliance for Excellent Education, America's Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University (March 19, 2012)
SOURCE Junior Achievement of Georgia