AT&T investing $300K in Birmingham Promise workforce development initiative
AT&T on Wednesday became yet another major benefactor of Birmingham Promise, which is Mayor Randall Woodfin’s signature workforce development initiative.
Birmingham Promise is an apprenticeship and scholarship program made possible by a public-private partnership between the City of Birmingham and area employers.
AT&T Alabama president Wayne Hutchens on Wednesday joined Woodfin and other officials at city hall to announce the company’s significant commitment.
Rachel Harmon, director of Birmingham Promise, said to open the press conference, “AT&T is an incredibly important part of our corporate community.”
She said the company’s partnership in Birmingham Promise will also represent an investment in the Magic City’s future.
Hutchens expressed AT&T’s enthusiasm for supporting “amazing students who are our future leaders.”
One such student was in attendance and spoke at the event: John Collins, a recent graduate of Ramsay High School and now a freshman at UAB.
“It’s an honor to be here with so many people committed to the strength and success of Birmingham,” Hutchens remarked. “Working together and alongside the mayor, we can and we will inspire progress.”
“AT&T believes in Birmingham,” he stressed. “We are focused on making sure Birmingham youth have an opportunity to succeed — to make their economic dreams become reality.”
In that spirit and to that end, the company will be investing $300,000 in Birmingham Promise’s scholarship fund.
“We would not be here without the mayor,” Hutchens added. He praised Woodfin’s passionate and visionary leadership, saying the mayor has fostered “a hope for true equity for all residents and for all neighborhoods.”
“Skills for a sustainable career or the education to have a secure financial future is not something that only folks from certain zip codes need or deserve,” Hutchens outlined. “It’s important to everyone. It’s very simple. Our society doesn’t work if it doesn’t work equally for all.”
Woodfin began his remarks by thanking AT&T and Hutchens.
“The Birmingham Promise was created as a way to invest in Birmingham’s present. Birmingham’s present is our students,” Woodfin advised. “But it’s also a way to invest in Birmingham’s future, and that is our workforce. It’s why we named this initiative the Promise; it’s our vow, our commitment, to providing opportunity for our children, their families and our community at-large.”
“But that promise will only be fulfilled when our community partners buy in,” he continued. “That’s why I’m so grateful for AT&T, as well as the company’s $300,000 contribution for educational purposes and opportunities in economic empowerment — an investment in our youth.”
“You know, every single student deserves an opportunity to succeed, that is something I personally believe,” the mayor added. “This contribution will go a long way in building ties between our business community, our academic partners and our students.”
Collins, who already completed an apprenticeship, is now reaping the rewards of the Birmingham Promise’s scholarship component, along with about 500 other college freshmen who graduated from the Birmingham City Schools system.
“I’d like to thank Mayor Woodfin, AT&T, Birmingham Promise … for believing in us students and for believing in me,” he concluded.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn