AT&T Works with Year Up to Close the Opportunity Divide

Originally published on

Young people are facing strong headwinds as they pursue career success in today’s economy. But there are bright spots.

Now and in coming weeks, we’re highlighting individuals working hard to succeed despite their challenges. We’re raising awareness of what’s possible to inspire and encourage others.

It’s part of AT&T’s $10 million commitment in 2020 to create economic opportunity and foster upward mobility for Black and underserved communities. This commitment builds on the $215 millionwe’ve contributed in the past five years to organizations working to increase education, skills building and career readiness opportunities in these communities.

Year Up

AT&T has worked with Year Up since 2016 and has committed to host 200 interns from Year Up annually by 2022. The non-profit was created in 2000 to close the so-called ‘opportunity divide,’ ensuring young adults gain skills, experiences and support needed to reach their potential. Over the last 20 years, they’ve served nearly 30,000 students, with 90% of Year Up graduates gaining employment or enrolling in postsecondary education within four months of completing the program.

Jenny Acosta, Year Up Graduate and AT&T Employee

When 20-year-old Jenny Acosta decided to get involved with Year Up, she knew she wanted to make positive strides in her career.

“I wanted a better life, and I wanted to get a head start on my career,” she said.

Today, after interning with AT&T for six months, she works full-time at the company as an administrative assistant, while continuing her education at the University of North Texas at Dallas. Acosta looks back fondly on what she learned during her time with Year Up and throughout her AT&T internship.

“I learned so many valuable lessons along the way – never be shy, and always network and make connections.”

Jenny Acosta, Year Up Graduate and AT&T Employee

Photo Cred: AT&T Genesis Najera, Year Up Graduate and AT&T Employee

Genesis Najera, Year Up Graduate and AT&T Employee

Genesis Najera, 21, knew the targeted learning tracks at Year Up were an opportunity to differentiate herself from her peers.

“I didn’t want to be like every other student who goes to class and then goes home,” she said. “I wanted to be involved in something that would benefit my future and benefit me – professionally and mentally.”

The business fundamentals, sales and IT curriculum offered by Year Up also gave Genesis confidence she was on a path to success. Today, as a business administration major at Miami Dade College and AT&T employee, Genesis says Year Up boosted her confidence and learn to take risks.

“Year Up helped me to become more open-minded. I learned that there are so many opportunities out there that may come your way, but it’s up to you to take those risks. I am forever grateful to Year Up for this experience.”

1 $202 million of this funding was provided by AT&T, and $13 million was provided through the AT&T Foundation.

Photo Cred: AT&T Genesis Najera, Year Up Graduate and AT&T Employee

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