AT&T, Rincon Tribe Celebrate New Connected Learning Center
What's the news? AT&T* is opening a new Connected Learning Center inside the Rincon Education Department located on the Rincon Reservation in Valley Center, CA to provide internet access and education tools to those who face connectivity barriers.
This will be the first AT&T Connected Learning Center on tribal lands in the U.S., the fifth that AT&T has opened in California, and our 21st center nationwide. The center will allow students from tribal communities to get online, parents to look for jobs and the community to access resources to close in on the barriers of the digital divide.
The opening of the center is part of the AT&T Connected Learning initiative and our $2 billion commitment from 2021 to 2023 to address the digital divide through internet accessibility, affordability and safe adoption in underserved communities. In addition, the AT&T Foundation has made a $50,000 contribution towards Rincon Education Department programming.
Why is this important? Once they leave their school site, students on the Tribal Nations in the Valley Center region have limited access to the internet, computers or resources needed to benefit from the online world, part of the issue known as the digital divide. In fact, over 30 percent of the population on tribal lands do not have access to broadband infrastructure that provides minimally adequate speeds.1
This new center will serve students, as well as their parents and the larger community, who will be able to get online, find educational and employment resources and much more. The center will enhance opportunities for residents on tribal lands, who can pursue remote education, apply online for jobs and access telehealth resources without having to leave their community.
"We are very excited to have the Connected Learning Center located right on our reservation," stated Chairman Bo Mazzetti of the Rincon Tribe. "This is an absolute dream come true for our seniors, youth and the many tribal members who for many years did not have access to technology for the use of gathering information. This center will now enable our tribal members and lineals to have limitless learning and exciting possibilities through the power of technology."
In all, AT&T plans to launch more than 50 total centers across the country. The centers will be housed within local non-profit organizations supporting communities in need. The goal of the centers is to encourage the community to get connected through free access to the internet and computers and education resources that teach the value of broadband and how to use it safely and effectively.
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Tools and resources to benefit tribal communities
The new center will help to bridge the digital divide by providing free access to a range of digital resources all under one roof. This includes high-speed AT&T Fiber internet, Wi-Fi, computers and free education resources including The Achievery, a digital learning platform created by AT&T, as well as digital literacy courses and workshops created with the Public Library Association.
As an added level of support, AT&T employees are taking an active role in the Connected Learning Centers through AT&T Believes, our company-wide, localized volunteerism movement. We are providing onsite and virtual mentoring and tutoring for students and families to promote long-term education success and digital engagement.
As part of its ongoing commitment to championing digital inclusion for underserved communities, Dell Technologies donated Dell OptiPlex computers and Dell monitors which feature integrated audio and webcams to support virtual learning. World Wide Technology is the largest minority supplier of IT services globally and is providing configuration and installation services. As a black-owned company, WWT is a part of AT&T's Supplier Diversity Initiative and in collaboration with AT&T supports providing connectivity to all, including small and medium businesses, recreational facilities, educational institutions, and underserved communities.