Butler Community College received an AT&T High School Success grant for $34,788 Monday as part of grants totaling more than $140,000 in Kansas.

“We are delighted to receive this grant from AT&T,” said Butler Community College President Jackie Vietti.

Butler Community College received an AT&T High School Success grant for $34,788 Monday as part of grants totaling more than $140,000 in Kansas.

“We are delighted to receive this grant from AT&T,” said Butler Community College President Jackie Vietti.

The grant will be used to target school improvement addressing high school retention, success and workforce readiness, benefitting students in Butler and Cowley counties.

“It is targeted to working with some of our area school districts to help address retention rates so students stay in school until they graduation and hone their skills,” she said.

Vietti pointed out that those skills are important in getting a good job.

“Graduating from high school is a first step toward a lifetime of individual success,” she said. “These funds will enable us to help our students graduate from high school and become better prepared for college and the workforce.”

They hope to develop a model that can be replicated across any school district.
Butler was one of four school’s to receive a grant in Kansas.

“Butler’s (grant application) was head and shoulders above everyone else’s,” said Mike Scott, director of external affairs for AT&T Kansas.

This is a new grant for AT&T to offer and is a three-year program.

“AT&T believes private investment to help stem the high school drop-out rate is critically important, said, Dan Jacobsen, president AT&T Kansas. “Our concern is with making sure the workforce of the future is fully prepared for the full spectrum of U.S. employment opportunities. Working together with passionate and committed educators, we want to help students make the connection between education and future life success and develop a labor force with the right skills to compete in a worldwide digital economy.”

The AT&T foundation came up with the program because of the nation-wide need.

“We figure there’s a need for private investment,” Scott said. “We thought it was the right thing to do.”
He also said AT&T likes to be involved in the communities.

“We’re grateful to AT&T for contributing to education in Kansas and supporting school programs that help our kids succeed in the classroom, graduate from high school and gain the skills they’ll need to be successful in the workforce,” said Tom Foster, director of Standards and Assessments, Kansas State Department of Education.

Rep. John Grange also was on hand for the presentation.

“Given the stark statistics about high school dropout rates and the implications for workforce readiness, we’d like to applaud AT&T for these grants and for investing in the next generation of the American workforce,” Grange said.

Overall, AT&T announced that more than 170 schools and nonprofit organizations nationwide will receive almost $12 million in competitive grants from the AT&T Foundation that are designed to support high school retention programs at national and local levels for at-risk students.

AT&T’s High School Success grant initiative is a $48 million program that includes grant awards of up to $100,000 to support existing high school retention programs for up to four years and one-year grants, ranging from $25,000 to $35,000, to support capacity building for organizations that need additional time and resources to launch retention programs.

In addition to Butler Community College, other Kansas recipients include Topeka Public Schools, USD 501, which was granted $25,000, Consolidated Unified School District 101 serving Erie and Galesburg, which was awarded $50,000 and the Educational Services and Staff Development Association, which will receive $33,000.

The grants are part of the company’s signature initiative, AT&T Aspire, which was announced earlier this year and helps address high school success and workforce readiness. AT&T has committed $100 million in philanthropy through 2011 to schools and nonprofit organizations that are focused on high school retention and better preparing students for college and the workforce.
As one of the largest-ever corporate commitments to high school retention and workforce readiness, the $100 million AT&T Aspire program will support organizations with strong track records that promote educational success, from the classroom to the workplace. The recipient programs of this year’s High School Success grants provide a range of support for students, including academic intervention, mentoring and tutoring services.

In addition to the retention program grants, AT&T Aspire will award funding in three other key areas:

• A student job shadowing initiative involving 400,000 AT&T employee hours that will give 100,000 students a firsthand look at the skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century workforce.

• The underwriting of national research that will explore the practitioner perspective (teachers, principals, superintendents, school counselors and school board members) on the high school dropout issue.

• Support for 100 state and community dropout prevention summits, announced earlier this year by America’s Promise Alliance.