AT&T’s Diverse Mentoring Relationships Accelerate Employee Engagement
At MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, we know from our research and work with companies of all sizes and industries that mentoring is a viable corporate initiative that delivers on business, community and employee goals. Businesses that engage in mentoring can increase the number of employees engaged and retained, expand their workforce development pipeline, and elevate brand awareness. The youth that employee mentors engage with in mentoring programs can achieve youth development outcomes, academic gains, and the life skills needed to succeed in both college and their career. Employees can enhance valuable skills such as communications and collaboration and feel more invested in the communities where they live and work.
A longtime supporter of MENTOR, AT&T has been a pioneer in engaging employees in youth mentoring through its signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, which aims to help students succeed in school and beyond. AT&T employees have provided more than 1.5 million hours of mentoring to over 260,000 students in more than 390 cities. Through Aspire, AT&T employees are provided flexible options to mentor students in the classroom, at AT&T offices, within the local community and online.
Strong community collaborators are critical to AT&T’s initiative. These organizations help facilitate AT&T employee engagement in diverse mentoring models ranging from one-time mentoring experiences to traditional mentoring models to virtual mentoring. At the core of each of these models is a fundamental desire among employees to make a difference in the lives of young people by equipping them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to graduate from high school and succeed in college and career.
With the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Communities In Schools (CIS), AT&T employees are engaging across multiple one-time mentoring projects. For example, CIS matches AT&T employees with students in grades 8-12 for a 4-hour Career Exploration program focused on developing collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking skills. CIS students participating in the project consistently report that they most enjoy connecting with AT&T employees to hear about their experiences and get career planning advice, as well as learning about different career options and preparing for job interviews. A site coordinator with CIS of Highpoint, NC shares, “Students who participate come away with a new look on careers and opportunities. This program offers a glimmer of light in an otherwise dark tunnel and our students show the difference it has made as soon as they board the bus to head out. Their faces glow with thoughts of possibilities and there is excitement in their voices and body language.”
To provide another flexible option for AT&T employees across the country to mentor students in need, AT&T has built collaborations with organizations such as iCouldBe and We Teach Science to offer virtual mentoring programs. With We Teach Science, AT&T employees work with middle school students to further develop their math skills using an online tutoring and mentoring platform. AT&T has also teamed up with iCouldBe to empower teens to stay in school, prepare for college and plan for future careers. AT&T employee mentors leverage their structured activities each week of the program.
“Since I’m located in Alaska, it wasn’t as easy for me to mentor in person, so when I saw that I could still be involved by joining iCouldBe, I was so excited,” shares AT&T employee e-mentor Ginger. “As a young person, I had friends and parents that acted as mentors to me, and they made a huge impact on my life, so I was excited to be able to give back.”
DECA, a national nonprofit organization that is preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in high schools around the globe to be college and career ready in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, engages AT&T employees in project-based mentoring both in high schools and offsite at AT&T locations. From business competitions to marketing research projects, students gain valuable experience and coaching from mentors in the areas of public speaking, financial literacy, problem solving, and job acquisition and advancement.
DECA teacher advisor Nicole Champion from Banneker High School in Georgia shares, “The commitment by AT&T employees to be mentors through the AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy has given my students access to doors of opportunity I could only wish to provide on my own. These AT&T employees have changed the lives of my students; much like my mentors changed my life so many years ago.”
With a network of 32 states, Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) relies on the engagement of AT&T employee mentors to support middle and high school students in gaining employment skills and exploring career pathways. Through job shadowing experiences at AT&T locations and classroom-based career exploration activities, AT&T employees share their career journey and coach JAG students to stay in school and achieve their academic and career goals.
As evidenced by their engagement of employees in over 1 million hours of mentoring in diverse youth program models, AT&T is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of youth on their path to high school graduation, college and career. AT&T serves as a strong case study for MENTOR’s research that shows there is a strong business case for private-sector engagement in quality youth mentoring. It requires a strong commitment from leadership, thoughtfully developed non-profit relationships and genuine, targeted employee engagement.
With 1 in 3 youth growing up in the United States without a caring adult outside of the family, MENTOR encourages more companies to follow AT&T’s lead in inviting their employees to engage as mentors. Civic Enterprises, in collaboration with MENTOR and AT&T, recently published a white paper on the Aspire Mentoring Academy. Using the Mentoring Connector, a national database of mentoring programs, employees can search for local mentoring opportunities using their zip code. MENTOR’s team can provide companies with program design and management support, and companies are welcome to attend the annual National Mentoring Summit to discuss the latest mentoring field research, network with over 1000 mentoring practitioners and philanthropic partners, and learn effective practices.
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. MENTOR’s mission is to close the “mentoring gap” and ensure our nation’s young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work. To achieve this, MENTOR collaborates with its network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and works to drive the investment of time and money into high impact mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art tools. Connect with MENTOR on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Dan Horgan is the CEO of D.G. Horgan Group and is the Corporate Partnerships Consultant for MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.
The GradsofLifeVoice Forbes team provides thought leadership, research and expert commentary on innovative talent pipelines and related issues such as the skills gap, income inequality, workforce diversity, and the business case for employment pathways. We seek to change employers’ perceptions of young adults with atypical resumes from social liabilities to economic assets. This post was originally featured here.Sources:
Business Case, Education, Management & Leadership, Workforce Development,
Related NewsView All News
More Than What's On Paper: Being Empowered By ChangeSeptember 6th, 2017 | By Grads of Life
What I remember most about my school years was playing video games. I don’t remember exactly what my first video game was...Read More
Career Readiness: Whose Responsibility Is It, Anyway?August 30th, 2017 | By Grads of Life
A funny thing happens during the time students begin to wrap up their college and career-preparation programs and prepare to...Read More
More Than What's On Paper: My Journey To Success Was A Pathway To Finding MeAugust 7th, 2017 | By Grads of Life
Let me tell you a story, one that is nonlinear and begins after a loving Korean family living in Harlem, NY adopted a young...Read More