Monarch School Students learn important workforce skills through AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy and Junior Achievement Job Shadow Initiative

San Diego, CA —Junior Achievement of San Diego County is collaborating with AT&T to provide students at risk of dropping out of high school with mentoring by AT&T employees. On Thursday, November 13th, Junior Achievement of San Diego County and students from the Monarch School will participate in a mentoring event with AT&T employee mentors as part of Aspire Mentoring Academy at the AT&T San Diego Data Center at 7337 Trade Street in Mira Mesa.

This event, which will include more than 65 Monarch School students, is one of many mentoring sessions taking place across the country during the 2014-15 school year. A total of 51 JA Areas across the United States have been invited to participate in Aspire Mentoring Academy as part of the national collaboration, which will reach 13,000 students.

The collaboration is supported by a nearly $1 million contribution from AT&T. Aspire Mentoring Academy is the key community engagement program of Aspire, AT&T’s signature education initiative focused on school success and workforce readiness. Through Aspire Mentoring Academy, 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.

Many of AT&T’s approximately 240,000 employees are participating in this program to share career advice, skills and knowledge with teens that need it most. Building on the success of the earlier AT&T/JA Job ShadowTM 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.

“Our employees are our greatest asset – and the Aspire Mentoring Academy gives them the opportunity to make a lasting impact on a young person's life through mentoring. We want to help students connect the importance of what they are learning in the classroom today to their future success,” said Randy Okamura, Director External Affairs San Diego/Imperial Counties of AT&T California and JA Board Member. “By working with Junior Achievement, our employees will connect with even more students this school year to share life experiences and career advice through project-based activities.”

Statistics on Teens and High School Dropout Rates

Providing young people with real-world learning experiences can be key to improving U.S. high school graduation rates. Currently, 1 in 5 students do not graduate with their class on time. One in three young people overall (34 percent) and even more at-risk youth (37 percent) report they never had an adult mentor of any kind (naturally occurring or structured) while they were growing up. Junior Achievement is targeting Title I schools, or schools with graduation rates of 70 percent or lower, focusing on at-risk populations.

“Junior Achievement is excited to team up with AT&T on this important initiative. It is only through our collaboration and shared commitment to increase high school graduation rates that we will be successful. Both organizations remain focused on how to drive impact and equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to be college and career ready,” said Joanne Pastula, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of San Diego County.

To learn more about AT&T’s Aspire Mentoring Academy visit

About Junior Achievement of San Diego County: Junior Achievement of San Diego works locally to impact 53,000 students in K-12 classrooms each year. Junior Achievement’s volunteer-based programs teach kids how to get a job, start a business and how money works. For more information on programs in San Diego and Imperial Counties, please visit

About Community Engagement at AT&T: At AT&T, Community Engagement means engaging our employees to build healthy, 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 2013, AT&T employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.3 million hours of time in community outreach activities worth more than $118 million and pledged more than $35 million for charities of their choice through employee giving. Employees also committed to more than 23,500 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.

About Philanthropy at AT&T: AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2013, more than $130 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.

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Kristi Zimsky
PR & Social Media Manager
Junior Achievement of San Diego