Press Releases

San Diego High School Students Learn Important Workforce Skills Through AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy and Junior Achievement Job Shadow Initiative

December 06, 2016

San Diego students enjoy interacting with AT&T employees during a live video call using AT&T’s Telepresence Solution

SAN DIEGO, CA — On Tuesday, December 6, students from San Diego High School participated in a AT&Ts Aspire Mentoring Academy and Junior Achievement of San Diego County (JA)’s Job Shadow program. The event pairs 60 students with AT&T employees to learn firsthand about having a professional career at the multimedia company and which educational skills and background they will need to succeed on the job.

As part of the curriculum, students had the opportunity to listen to career advice from AT&T employees in other states across the US, using AT&T’s Telepresence Solution®, an advanced, high-definition videoconference that creates the sensation of an in-person meeting. The program also included a tour the Data Center facility and an interactive live broadcast using technology from the Interactive Virtual Learning Center. AT&T employees also shared life experiences and career advice through project-based activities during the workday.

San Diego students have a live chat with an AT&T employee in Texas.

 “It is really neat to be out of the classroom and interact with real business professionals”, said Maryan Mohamed, a senior at San Diego High. “I have learned so much about the skills I will need to be successful with a company, like AT&T, after high school.”

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.

San Diego High School Students “do the wave” during a live interactive broadcast at AT&T’s Interactive Virtual Learning Center.

“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 Danielle Carnicom Manager, Office of the President at AT&T. “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.”

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 and even more at-risk youth report they never had an adult mentor of any kind 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.

“One of the best ways we can help our young people succeed in high school is to ensure that they see the connection between what they are learning in school and what skills are required in the workforce,” said Johnathan Bickel, Senior Specialist at AT&T’s Data Center. Bickel has been or organizing and providing job shadow experience for hihg school students with Junior Achievement for the past 12 years. “It is important to give these students real-world insight and hopefully inspire them to join the high-growth field in technology and communications, where they can establish a great future for themselves.”

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


About Junior Achievement of San Diego County: Since 1950, Junior Achievement of San Diego County has provided life-changing programs to more than 830,000 youth—in the classroom and after school—to foster an understanding of how the “real world” works. To ensure youth are prepared for their future, JA teaches them how to get a job, start a business and how to manage money. Home to the popular McGrath Family JA BizTown and Mission Fed JA Finance Park, JA of San Diego will reach 75,000 youth from 38 school districts during the 2016-17-calendar school year. JA San Diego receives support from more than 5,400 volunteers. 

About Philanthropy at AT&T: Philanthropy at AT&T is an important part of the company’s Citizenship and Sustainability efforts to support education and our local communities. The company’s key philanthropic program is AT&T Aspire, a $350M commitment to education, helping students succeed in school, the workforce and in life. Philanthropic giving at AT&T includes both corporate contributions as approved by the AT&T Contributions Council and grants as approved by the AT&T Foundation. Members of the AT&T Contribution Council are appointed by the Chairman and CEO. Oversight of policy for philanthropic giving by AT&T is provided by the AT&T Public Policy and Corporate Reputation Committee.