Monday, March 24, 2014

AT&T's Job Shadowing Program

from AT&T website

The 2014 Tulsa Mayor's Mentoring Breakfast showcased several innovative mentoring programs. AT&T's Job Shadowing Program in Tulsa is an effective Junior Achievement Job Shadow model with personalization. AT&T, formerly Southwestern Bell and Bell Telephone as well as one of the founders of Junior Achievement nationally, has established this program as part of its corporate culture.

Job Shadow "graduate"
Vicki Williams, a 20+ year AT&T mentor, spoke about the program at the breakfast. The opportunity, which could be renamed “A Day in the Life of AT&T,” can accommodate 70-85 youths at a time at the call center. The students, usually juniors, put on suits, have real job interviews by managers, and learn about careers at AT&T and the required education or training. 

Vicki said, “We focus on S.I.S., ‘Stay in school.’” Among other topics discussed are digital footprints, soft skills, keeping a job, and the importance of a job. At the end of the day, students receive a certificate. If they finish high school, that certificate will earn them an interview with AT&T. 

Jonathan, a former job shadow “graduate” who spoke at the breakfast kept his certificate, requested an interview, and accepted a job two weeks prior to the February 28th breakfast. Junior Achievement and AT&T opened up a world he did not know existed and could not imagine.  

Vicki has gone the extra mile for some of the program graduates, e.g., giving at least one a ride to work because of lack of transportation and other issues. Not every story is a later hiring or employment success, but Vicki continues to reach out to many of the former students.

When students arrive by bus at the AT&T Call Center, employees are lined up, applauding and cheering as the students enter. “This wins them over right there,” says Belynda Clanton, JA Tulsa. The message is “We accept you as you are, come in, let us tell you about our world,” she adds. As mentioned in a previous blog post, Tulsa JA requires students from high need schools. A student once commented that no one had ever clapped for her before.

By the time students are in the training room, they are won over. They have no idea about all the jobs and scholarships they may be able to earn. Some employees will tell them that AT&T helped them go to college or get a master’s degree. Testimonials have power.

The large group is broken down into smaller groups of eight to ten. Each group is assigned to a manager. Two to three school districts could be present on a day. AT&T has changed the terminology slightly. The word manager has become connector. After all, knowledge and careers are about relationships and networking.

This post focuses upon the AT&T Job Shadow, but the corporation is doing so much more to mentor youths and to invest in technological education.  Other mentoring includes offsite and online as part of AT&T’s ASPIRE Mentor Academy.
from AT&T website

Online Mentoring
AT&T Aspire Mentoring academy
Utilizing technology, employees in several cities across the country are piloting the online option to share career and academic knowledge with students at risk of dropping out of high school.
Aspire Mentoring Academy's Non-Profit Team
AT&T is working with multiple educational non-profit leaders on Aspire Mentoring Academy.
Junior Achievement USA is the nation's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. AT&T and Junior Achievement are building on the success of providing Job Shadow opportunities to more than 100,000 students in four years. Aspire Job Mentoring includes project-based activities to enhance the mentoring experience for thousands of students and employees across the country.
The We Teach Science Foundation was founded in 2008 to assist K-12 students in their math and science education through Remote Tutoring and Mentoring (RTM). AT&T is teaming with We Teach Science to deliver e-Mentoring in which employees will help thousands of students one-on-one, over five years, across the U.S.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is the nation's largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network. AT&T and Big Brothers Big Sisters are utilizing Mentor2.0, Big Brothers Big Sisters' technology-enriched high school youth mentoring program, with a pilot in Dallas, TX. This online mentoring initiative aims to provide high school students with the support and guidance they need to graduate high school and succeed in college and the workforce.
Onsite Mentoring
Building on AT&T's Job Shadow program, employees share life experiences and career advice through project-based activities at AT&T work sites during the workday.

Belynda Clanton (personal communication, March 12, 2014)
Vicki Williams (personal communication, February 28, 2014)

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