AT&T’s HBCU Future Leaders Program Creates Pathways to Success in Tech and Entertainment for Black Youth

Originally published at about.att.com. AT&T is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.

Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. Dubois, Kamala Harris. These historic figures and more, have something in common, they all graduated from an historic Black college or university (HBCU).

It has been almost 200 years since the first HBCU was established and over this long history, a legacy of greatness and achievement has laid the foundation for generations to come. While these names will ring throughout history as vanguards for the Black community, we are reminded–now more than ever–of how valuable access to education and economic opportunity is for the future of our world.

Today we are happy to announce the launch of AT&T University’s HBCU Future Leaders Program, a multi-year mentoring and workforce readiness initiative for HBCU students. Beginning in March, interns from the AT&T EDGE internship and other student development programs will be selected to participate in a workforce readiness experience that will provide access to senior leaders, experiential learning, leadership skills development, and experts in technology and innovation. This exposure will help them to achieve long-term career success and make an impact in their communities.

Creating opportunity has been a driving force in our work to empower Black communities across the country. We recognize that to create opportunity, we must also invest in and nurture talent. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, AT&T committed $10 million to create more economic opportunities and paths to success for Black and underserved communities. As a part of this commitment, we expanded our collaborations with organizations that cultivate Black technology development and entrepreneurship, especially within HBCUs. Through initiatives that increase diversity like NexCubedBlack Girls Code and Year Up, we’re helping to eliminate racial bias found in some of today’s technologies, as well as increase education and career readiness opportunities among Black youth nationwide. But, this is only one step.

“We at AT&T experience firsthand the outpouring of amazing talent from historically Black educational institutions; many of our employees are alumni of HBCUs across the country,” said Michelle Jordan, vice president, AT&T University. The HBCU Future Leader’s program will not only impact this group of future leaders but will also impact the wider Black community. To remain at the top of our game, we must strengthen our relationships with HBCUs and find new ways to attract and mentor Black talent entering the workforce.”

Participants will also be mentored by current AT&T employees, including members of employee resource groups and HBCU alumni with specialized expertise in technology, innovation and leadership development. The experience will provide critical insight to help shape their future.

HBCU Future Leaders can look forward to opportunities created to make a long-lasting impact that will extend well beyond their college career, including leadership skills through executive sessions, strategic thinking through career development content, and mentorship opportunities with AT&T engineers, patent creators, strategists and storytellers, many of whom are executives.

At AT&T, we believe that technology has the power to better lives, improve communities and drive societal change. This sentiment is one that inspires us to act and support organizations who share this same goal. We are proud to stand alongside a pillar of the Black community as HBCUs continue the legacy they have built, providing future leaders with the tools they need to thrive.

Latest News

Video: How Companies Are Ensuring Equity for People With Disabilities

The National Organization on Disability held its annual forum in Washington, D.C. last week, bringing together community leaders, advocates, government officials and corporate leaders and influencers to focus on the advancement of people with disabilities in the workplace. DiversityInc also met up with leaders from Capital One Financial (No. 22…

Validated Allies wallpaper

DiversityInc Announces 2022 Validated Allies

Allyship is a journey rather than a destination. The work of an ally never really ends and allies understand they are not necessarily always working toward a goal, but rather, serving a greater purpose. Each year, as part of our Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc recognizes a…

CDO Series: Sysco’s Adrienne Trimble

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the latest installment of a series of articles…

NOD Forum: Honoring the Disability Rights Movement

The road to disability rights has been a long one. One that started long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was passed. In celebration of 40 years of the National Organization on Disability, disability leaders, supporters and activists gathered in Washington, D.C last week to discuss the…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 29

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Research Outlines Lack…