The Luiseño Indians and AT&T’s Rincon Band have partnered to open a new hub that will provide high-speed connectivity, computers and free access to digital learning resources on the tribe’s lands in the Valley Center. Called the Connected Learning Center, the place is housed in the tribe’s Department of Education.
The center puts students from Aboriginal communities online, helps residents look for jobs and allows the community to access resources that will help close the barriers of the digital divide – unequal access to digital technology, which is changing create a divide and inequality around access to for information and resources.
AT&T is seeking to increase opportunities for residents on tribal lands, enabling them to access distance learning, apply for jobs online and access telehealth resources without leaving their community.
In April 2021, more than a year after COVID-19 brought internet access needs to the forefront, AT&T CEO John Stankey said, “We continue to believe that broadband connectivity is essential for all Americans.”
“Our broadband networks are facing the challenge of the pandemic thanks to a number of technologies and policies that encourage private sector investment in the network,” Stanke said. “AT&T is investing in our broadband network and expanding its reach, while also advocating for effective and sustainable public policies that help close this nation’s digital divide.”
The center is part of a commitment to invest $2 billion in 2021 through 2023 seeking to address the digital divide through increased Internet access, affordability and safe adoption in communities where computer connectivity is most lacking. needed.
It also builds on the company’s $1 billion contribution from 2018-2020 to help the country’s most vulnerable communities.
In addition, the AT&T Foundation contributed $50,000 to Rincon Education Department programming. And separately, AT&T is working with Rincon Band on a multi-step process toward improved connectivity. The plan is to design and engineer a fiber network on its land that will connect more than 400 homes on the reservation with reliable high-speed, broadband Internet.
Tribal nation students in the Valley Center area have limited access to the internet, computers or the resources needed to benefit from the online world, an issue known as the digital divide. In fact, AT&T reports that more than 30 percent of the population on tribal lands does not have access to broadband infrastructure that provides minimally adequate speeds.
“We are very excited to have the Connected Learning Center located on our reservation,” said Bo Mazzetti, president of the Rincon Tribe. “It is an absolute dream come true for our seniors, youth and many tribal members who have not had access to technology for many years to gather information. This center is now providing our tribal members with… The medium will enable limitless learning and exciting possibilities.
The Rincon-headquartered site is the first AT&T Connected Learning Center on tribal land in the United States, the fifth opened by AT&T in California and its 21st nationwide. Overall, AT&T plans to launch a total of more than 50 centers across the country.
The centers are located within local non-profit organizations and will continue to support communities in need, encouraging residents to connect and sharing education resources that teach the value of broadband and how to use it safely and effectively .
AT&T California state president Mark Blakeman said the center will provide Rincon and nearby tribal families access to a range of digital resources, including virtual mentoring and tutoring, to help them succeed in a digital school and job environment.
The new center, with high-speed AT&T fiber internet, Wi-Fi and computers, also offers free education resources including The Achiever, a digital learning platform created by AT&T, as well as digital literacy programs created with the Public Library Association Also offers courses and workshops.
AT&T Believes, a company-wide, local volunteerism movement, will provide onsite and virtual mentoring and tutoring for students and families to foster long-term education success and digital engagement.
Dell Technologies donated Dell Optiplex computers and Dell monitors for the center. Electronic items feature integrated audio and webcams to support virtual learning. World Wide Technology, a Black-owned company and the largest minority supplier of IT services globally, is providing configuration and installation services.
The AT&T Foundation recently awarded a $100,000 grant to the California Tribal Chairpersons Association to support their work around the critical needs of California tribes. CTCA members, including Mazzetti and Jamul Indian Village President Erica Pinto, include local tribal leaders who advocate for tribal sovereignty, natural and cultural resource protection, the health and well-being of Native peoples, and educational opportunities and economic opportunities for tribal governments. Collaborating and advocating for development.
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