updated: 9/10/2012 7:43:22 AM
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a $120,000 grant from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). The money will help fund the chamber's Franklin Initiative, which provides counseling and career preparation services in hopes of increasing Monroe County's graduation rate.
September 7, 2012
Bloomington, Ind. -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) today announced a $120,000 grant to support the Graduation Coach Initiative, a program of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce’s Franklin Initiative. The Graduation Coach Initiative provides individualized counseling and career preparation for struggling students to increase the graduation rate in Monroe County.
Because of its solid record of proven results, The Chamber’s Franklin Initiative was selected from thousands of applicants nationwide as one of 47 schools and non-profits to receive Aspire funding. Applicants were evaluated based on their accomplishments in serving students at risk of dropping out of high school and their ability to use data to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work. This is the second grant from AT&T’s Aspire program, having received a $200,000 grant from the program in 2008.
“Since the Graduation Coach Initiative was introduced in 2007, nearly 1,000 young people have benefited from the one-on-one mentoring while hundreds, who would have otherwise dropped-out, earned their high school diploma,” said Cindy Kinnarney, Chair of the Chamber’s Franklin Initiative Advisory Council. “We applaud AT&T for their leadership in finding solutions to the high school dropout crisis. We are grateful for their generous support of a program that has far-reaching benefits.”
Graduation Coaches are social work professionals employed by The Chamber’s Franklin Initiative who work intensively with a caseload of 50-60 at-risk students with low GPA’s, low credit attainment, or poor attendance.
There are three full-time Graduation Coaches - one at Bloomington High School North, Bloomington High School South, and Edgewood High School in Ellettsville - who are onsite to help students stay in school and graduate by providing focused support and removing barriers to academic success. "Mrs. Goldman has been there whenever I needed her. She has really made a difference in my life. I am now on track to graduate with my class and become a dental hygienist," explains Marissa Moore, a senior at Edgewood High School who has worked with Graduation Coach Patty Goldman for the past three years.
“Keeping our teenagers in high school and preparing them for success after graduation benefits our students and our communities,” said George Fleetwood, President of AT&T Indiana. “The Chamber’s Franklin Initiative and its Graduation Coach Program have a proven graduation strategy that is helping at-risk youth stay in school and succeed academically. We are proud to continue our support of this program.”
Since 1999, the Chamber’s Franklin Initiative (FI) has helped to facilitate career awareness while helping students develop the skills necessary to succeed in employment or in continuing education. FI programs such as the Reality Store, career fairs, and job shadowing increase student engagement through real-world connections, as well as provide the critical link between the education and business communities.
Students who drop out of high school are almost twice as likely to be unemployed than high school graduates and they earn far less money. Studies also cite those that drop out are eight times as likely to be incarcerated, and far more likely to require public assistance such as housing subsidies, food stamps, and utility assistance.
“The benefits of increasing high school graduation rates are significant for our community. Thanks to AT&T’s support, we can continue the positive momentum,” added Kinnarney.
After a rigorous and competitive process, The Chamber’s Franklin Initiative was identified as making a real difference in their community by supporting and motivating traditionally underserved students to stay in school, graduate and prepare for the next step in life. To learn more about all of the organizations selected, please visit www.att.com/local-impact.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s largest 4G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T | DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in
Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.
About Philanthropy at AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2011, more than $115 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.
About The Chamber’s Franklin Initiative
For more than a decade, the Chamber's Franklin Initiative (FI) has helped to facilitate career awareness while helping students
develop the skills necessary to succeed in employment or in continuing education. FI programs such as Classroom Speakers, Reality
Store, and Job Shadowing increase student engagement through real‐world connections, as well as provide the critical link between
the education and business communities. The Franklin Initiative’s Graduation Coach Initiative provides individualized counseling and
career preparation for struggling students to increase the graduation rate in Monroe County students. www.FranklinInitiative.com