The AT&T Foundation provided a total of $215,000 in grants to nine organizations across New Jersey to build digital literacy skills in 2022 and is currently working with local libraries and nonprofits to offer digital literacy programs and refurbished computers for students.
“The pandemic heightened the challenges faced by students here in New Jersey and nationwide,” said AT&T New Jersey President Joseph Divis. “Under-resourced neighborhoods were hit particularly hard, which is why we’ve teamed up with organizations across the state who share our desire to help students in New Jersey prepare for success in school, on the job and in life.”
Organizations that received AT&T Foundation grants include:
- NPower (Jersey City): $25,000 to support NPower NJ Tech Fundamentals program, which serves veterans, veterans’ spouses, and young adults (age 18-26) from underserved communities with IT training, professional development, wrap-around social services, paid internships, and job placement.
- Gateway Community Action Partnership (Bridgeton): $25,000 to support youth in achieving and maintaining academic success and personal wellbeing through access to technology, tutoring, mentoring, counseling, and positive social interactions in a safe, reliable, and comfortable setting.
- Community Foundation of New Jersey (Newark): $30,000 to support the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), an established program with years of success that offers a life-changing opportunity for motivated Newark youth to gain workforce skills, financial knowledge, career exposure, and coaching on a pathway to a sustainable career.
- Boys & Girls Club Mercer County (Trenton): $25,000 to support the afterschool homework help and supplemental education programs for 800 K-8 grade youth participating in the Boys & Girls Club after school program during the 2022-2023 school year at 12 locations in Trenton & Ewing.
- New Jersey Community Development Corporation (Paterson): $25,000 to support New Jersey Community Development Corporation’s (NJCDC) afterschool tutoring program, which will help bridge the digital divide for high school students in Paterson.
- Boys & Girls Club Hudson County (Jersey City and Bayonne): $25,000 to support the Teen Tech Center, a program that teaches technology skills, reduce the digital divide, and encourages youth from Jersey City and Bayonne to pursue post-secondary education in STEM fields.
- New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation – JAG New Jersey (statewide): $20,000 to support the Jobs for America’s Graduates NJ program, dedicated to helping youth of promise graduate high school and make successful transitions to postsecondary education and meaningful employment.
- Puerto Rican Action Board (New Brunswick): $15,000 to support students who may need additional technological resources to address the challenges of internet-based schoolwork.
- Hopeworks (Camden): $25,000 to support the Hopeworks program, which provides digital skills training, digital access, food support, health support, housing support, and other resources to underserved community members.
As part of its ongoing support for digital literacy initiatives nationwide, AT&T is also helping the Public Library Association (PLA) bring free bilingual, in-person digital literacy workshops to nearly 160 libraries across the country, including nine in New Jersey.
The workshops utilize online digital literacy courses available through AT&T ScreenReady and PLA Digital Learn. Created in collaboration with PLA, the courses teach skills ranging from technology basics to avoiding scams.
The selected libraries in New Jersey include Long Branch Free Public Library; Montclair Public Library; Paramus Public Library; Parsippany – Troy Hills Public Library; Piscataway Public Library; Somerville Branch of Somerset County Library System of NJ; South Orange Public Library; Wharton Public Library; and Woodbury Public Library.
AT&T is also collaborating with Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) in Newark and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) on an initiative that assists people in the East Ward section of Newark with building digital skills building and access. Support from LISC and AT&T is helping ICC bring the community up to speed with technology focused on online financial services, state and federal benefits, job training and development, and digital warning signs and safeguarding.
In Jersey City, in collaboration with Digitunity and the Jersey City Housing Authority, young people in the Booker T. Washington housing development received refurbished computers to help them with education. All told, over 300 computers will be provided to JCHA youth over the next year.
Additionally, AT&T worked with the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, NJ STEM and the Athletic Arts Academy in Orange to run the NJ Kids4Coding program. The eight-week program introduced school-aged children to the basics of coding and how it can empower their imaginations, enhance their education and catalyze career opportunities.
“We truly appreciate the collaboration with AT&T and our collective efforts to mitigate the digital divide and provide our youth for future careers in technology through our coding program,” said John E. Harmon, Sr., founder, president & CEO, of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.