“AT&T believes that digital literacy is hugely important and more important every day,” says Cammy Blackstone, external affairs director at AT&T. “As a company, our bread and butter is making sure that people’s connections work. Once people are connected, we want to ensure that they can make the most of that connection.”
Throughout the pandemic, it became increasingly evident that many people lack the access and ability to connect digitally. Such people may not be able to afford high-speed internet and devices, or they might lack the necessary digital skills to use the web. In response, AT&T has made a $2 billion, three-year commitment to help bridge the digital divide. This funding will go towards affordable broadband options via the Access program, educational discounts and opportunities, partnerships with community centers and nonprofits, the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit program, and developing nationwide learning centers.
With a continuing mission to connect the unconnected, CTN is excited to be one of the many organizations to receive AT&T’s support. Last year, AT&T helped fund our emerging Home Connect program with a $20,000 donation to provide digital skills training to homebound seniors. This year, AT&T provided an additional $20,000 to support CTN’s Digital Parents program.
For parents, internet access is a virtual necessity — from finding a job to obtaining vital health and social services to helping kids with homework. Yet among those earning less than $30,000 per year, 43% do not have broadband internet at home (Pew Research Center, Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet, April 2021). The Digital Parents program will specifically focus on bridging the digital divide for low-income families. It will teach parents to effectively use the internet and other technology, providing digital literacy training to 105 individuals. For tech newcomers and for those whose first language is not English, this training is essential to using the benefits and resources of the internet.
“Technology can be overwhelming and frustrating — unless you have an organization like CTN that is able to walk you through each step, it can be a terrifying endeavor,” says AT&T’s Cammy Blackstone. “I know that [CTN’s] Kami Griffiths works hard to find and train folks at CTN to translate technology into something understandable to those who lack prior tech experience.”
CTN celebrates AT&T’s commitment to ensuring that people have both access to the internet and the skills to navigate it. Now more than ever, digital literacy is a crucial component to remaining connected. Whether it be through hands-on training or financial contributions, AT&T is helping individuals and nonprofits tackle the digital divide.
Here’s what Blackstone has to say about our mutually beneficial partnership: “Where I see CTN being such a force is in its ability to work with different groups of people that may be intimidated by technology or lack the access to a device and the skills to use it. We look forward to working with CTN for a long, long time. There are a lot of organizations that do great work, but I think that CTN is on the frontlines making stuff happen for people that ordinarily would not have these opportunities.”