On Wednesday, October 12, representatives from The Salvation Army and AT&T celebrated the opening of the AT&T Connected Learning Center at The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center with a press conference and ribbon cutting. The event included a tour of the center, group photos and a digital literacy workshop for seniors prior to the ribbon cutting.
The new Connected Learning Center inside The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Atlanta to provide internet access and education tools to those who face connectivity barriers holding them back from success in the digital world.
It’s 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 addition, AT&T has made a $50,000 contribution towards The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. This is the second Connected Learning Center that AT&T has opened in Atlanta.
The launch of this Connected Learning Center falls within AT&T’s month-long “Bridge to Possibility: Closing the digital divide, together” campaign. The campaign aims to drive awareness of the challenges caused by the digital divide and the collective response needed to address it. Bridging the digital divide requires businesses, nonprofits and government to come together for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring high-quality connectivity to millions of people that need it most.
This Connected Learning Center is one of 20 centers AT&T is opening across the country by the end of the year. The centers will be housed within local organizations that support underserved populations, including some of our nation’s most vulnerable students and families. The goal of the centers is to encourage more families to get connected through free access to the internet and education resources that teach the value of broadband and how to use it safely and effectively.
Why is this important? In Atlanta, it’s estimated that more than 12,000 K-12 students1 don’t have access to high-quality connectivity and are unable to participate in the modern online world, an issue known as the digital divide.
“As we continue our work to make Atlanta a city of opportunity for all, we need to ensure equity in access to digital tools and high-speed internet across our city,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “The launch of the AT&T Connected Learning Center is another step toward bridging the digital divide in our communities and ensuring there is a level playing field for every Atlanta family.”
“At AT&T, we are proud to provide the connectivity, digital tools and educational resources needed for Atlantans to succeed today and tomorrow. AT&T’s investment in the Connected Learning Center at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center directly reflects our commitment to helping bridge the digital divide and making an impact in the communities we serve,” said Venessa Harrison, president, AT&T Southeast Coastal States. “These Connected Learning Centers will help equip Atlanta youth, families and seniors with the resources they need to strengthen digital literacy skills, apply for jobs or access healthcare.”
How we will make it happen:
The new center will help to bridge the digital divide by providing free access to range of digital resources all under one roof, including: high-speed AT&T Fiber internet, Wi-Fi, Dell Technologies computers, free education resources, and tutoring and mentoring from AT&T employees.
The free education resources within the center will help students and families participate in digital engagement. These include , a free digital learning platform created by AT&T, as well as free digital literacy courses and workshops created with the Public Library Association.
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. Overland-Tandberg, a Black-owned company, is part of AT&T’s Supplier Diversity Initiative. The leading global technology and IT services company led the onsite configuration of the computers.
“We are grateful to AT&T for their generous support which will allow us to offer more programming opportunities at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Corporate supporters like AT&T are vital to our efforts to provide hope to those in the community who need it,” said Major Thomas McWilliams, The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Area Command. “We are pleased to have these new computers as we begin a pilot program to teach resume writing, part of a new workforce development program that we are creating for metro Atlanta.”
The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center Atlanta is a 53,500 square-foot worship, arts, education, and recreation facility located in the Pittsburgh community of Atlanta. The center serves as a beacon of hope and a place of refuge for the spiritually, creatively, and physically hungry members and community alike.
AT&T supports the Atlanta community by providing funding to local community organizations tackling the digital divide, including organizations that work with youth, adults, and underrepresented communities.
Affordable internet options
AT&T is committed to connecting more Americans to reliable, high-speed broadband internet in several ways, including expanding and upgrading our network and participating in the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP provides eligible households with a benefit of up to $30 a month (up to $75 on qualifying Tribal lands) to reduce the cost of broadband service and can be applied to AT&T Fiber.
Additionally, those who qualify can apply ACP benefits to Access from AT&T to get internet speeds of up to 100Mbps, where available, for $0. After confirming ACP eligibility, those who qualify can call us at 866-986-0963 to discuss options and order service and must have their National Verifier application ID available.
Expanding our network
In addition to our community investment in Atlanta, we also continue to invest in bringing fiber and connectivity to this area. From 2019-2021, we expanded coverage and improved connectivity by investing nearly $5.0 billion in our wireless and wireline networks in Georgia. AT&T Fiber covers more than six million fiber strand miles in the state of Georgia.
Learn more at att.com/connectedlearning.