Based on its long track record of preparing underserved high school students for college and career success after high school, Urban Alliance was awarded $1 million as one of ten recipients nationwide to share in $9.25 million in celebration of AT&T Aspire’s 10-year anniversary. Launched in 2008, AT&T Aspire is the company’s initiative to help provide access to education and training people need to get and keep good jobs.
The contribution was announced during a special event at Wakefield High School in Arlington, one of 29 schools Urban Alliance partners with in the greater Washington, D.C. area.
Progress has been made since AT&T launched Aspire. The 2015-16 national high school graduation rate now stands at 84.1%, an all-time high and up from 74.9% for the class of 2008. But as a part of the Grad Nation campaign to drive America to a 90% high school graduation rate by 2020, more work needs to be done.
Currently, one in six students fails to graduate high school on time with their class. The ten nonprofits, including Urban Alliance, are working on the front lines every day to change the fate of those students. The nonprofits were selected from previous AT&T Aspire competitive funding awardees based on their effectiveness in helping students graduate ready for career or college. These programs use evidence-based approaches and are able to demonstrate a measurable impact on the students they serve.
“For our country to succeed in the 21st century, our workforce needs the right skills, and young people need a high school diploma to stay on track for college and career success. Through Aspire, we support programs that help students who need it the most walk across the graduation stage ready for their future,” said Vince Apruzzese, regional vice president for AT&T External Affairs in Virginia. “We’re excited to continue working with Urban Alliance to help more young people in the region achieve success.”
AT&T’s contribution will fund the expansion and enhancement of Urban Alliance’s core High School Internship Program (HSIP) and workforce readiness training in both Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. to enable more students in the region to graduate high school with the skills needed for lifelong economic self-sufficiency.
With this support, high school seniors enrolled in HSIP will receive industry-focused training to prepare them for future employment in high-growth sectors, in addition to the program’s year-long job and life skills training; paid, 9-month professional internships; mentoring; and post-high school planning assistance. Urban Alliance will also expand its workforce readiness training program (originally funded by AT&T) to underclassmen starting as early as freshman year of high school in Washington, D.C. and to also include growth-industry-specific training.
Overall, AT&T’s contribution will enable Urban Alliance to prepare over 860 students for post-high school success.
Students hail from 29 schools in the region: Anacostia Senior High School; Arlington Career Center; Benjamin Banneker Academic High School; Calvin Coolidge Senior High School; César Chávez PCS for Public Policy – Parkside High School; Chance for Change Academy; Columbia Heights Educational Campus; E.L. Haynes Public Charter School; Eastern Senior High School; Falls Church High School; Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus; Frank W. Ballou High School; Friendship Public Charter School – Friendship Collegiate Academy; H.D. Woodson High School; H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program; IDEA Public Charter School; Justice High School; KIPP DC; McKinley Technology High School; Mount Vernon High School; Paul Laurence Dunbar High School; Ron Brown College Preparatory High School; T.C. Williams High School; T.C. Williams High School Satellite Campus; Theodore Roosevelt High School; Thurgood Marshall Academy; Wakefield High School; Washington-Lee High School; and Woodrow Wilson High School.
“We believe that early access to high-quality employment and workforce readiness training can prevent underserved youth from disconnecting from future employment or education,” said Eshauna Smith, CEO of Urban Alliance. “We are grateful to AT&T for recognizing the critical role of youth employment in building sustainable, successful futures for our youth. Their support will help us open the door to economic opportunity for more young people in the greater Washington, D.C. area.”
With more than 20 years of experience providing workforce opportunities to thousands of economically disadvantaged students in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and Detroit, Urban Alliance has a track record of improving post-high school outcomes for underserved youth. A recent six-year study found that completing Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program had a measurable impact on young men attending college, mid-GPA students enrolling in four-year colleges, and students’ retention of professional soft skills.
100 percent of Urban Alliance students graduate from high school, and over 90 percent are accepted to college. A further 80 percent of enrolled alumni continue to a second year in college, and 80 percent of all alumni are connected to a college, career, or career-training pathway one year post-program.
AT&T has funded Urban Alliance’s work in the D.C. metropolitan area since 2014. AT&T invests in education and job training to create a skilled and diverse workforce that powers our company – and our country – for the future. Since 2008, we’ve committed $450 million to programs to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world through the AT&T Aspire initiative. AT&T Aspire brings together the power of our network – our employees, our technology and organizations – to connect people to opportunities through education and job training.
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Urban Alliance is a national youth development nonprofit that provides economically-disadvantaged young people with the exposure, opportunity, support, and training needed to prepare them for lifelong economic self-sufficiency. Urban Alliance’s core program partners with the business community to match underserved high school seniors with paid, professional internships, job skills training, one-on-one mentoring, and ongoing post-program support to expand their idea of what is possible in the future. Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1996, Urban Alliance has since expanded to Baltimore, Chicago, Northern Virginia, and Detroit. To date, Urban Alliance has placed over 4,000 students in paid internships, and served another over 18,000 through job skills training. For more information, visit https://theurbanalliance.org.