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AT&T, United Farm Workers, CORO, Udacity LAUNCH “AdelanTECH Leadership Program”

By Alexandra Krasov, AT&T and
Luz Pena, United Farm Workers

July 15, 2015 — Salinas, CA

New Technology Training and Leadership Development Program to Prepare Emerging Rural Leaders for Innovation Economy, Boost Diversity in STEM

AT&T, United Farm Workers (UFW), CORO Northern California, and Udacity will launch the “AdelanTECH Leadership Program” – a unique, new program to empower emerging rural leaders to succeed and lead in California’s innovation economy. The launch is scheduled for July 18.

The AdelanTECH Leadership Program will launch in Salinas with an inaugural class of 12 fellows – farmworkers and the adult children of farmworkers. The fellows will participate in a rigorous, year-long program developed by AT&T, UFW, CORO Nothern California and Udacity. During the program, AdelanTECH fellows will develop leadership skills based on CORO’s nationally-recognized leadership curriculum and earn a front-end web development Nanodegree credential from Udacity – a degree recognized for entry-level software development employment at AT&T.

“Far too many smart and motivated people are being left out of the innovation economy, particularly from rural communities,” said Ken McNeely, President, AT&T California. “We created the AdelanTECH Leadership Program to help bridge the skills gap and empower emerging, rural leaders to participate in California’s STEM and technology fields.”

Nationwide, STEM jobs grew three times faster than non-STEM jobs, increasing 7.9 percent vs. 2.6 percent during the 10 year period between 2000 and 2010 [U.S. Department of Commerce]. Students earning STEM majors also earn 16 percent more when they enter the workforce than the average college graduate [Georgetown]. Yet, graduates of rural schools are less likely to have completed science classes [National Center for Education Statistics]. Hispanics represent almost 20 percent of U.S. youth, but only 2 percent of the STEM workforce [Department of Education].

“We all hear about the seemingly endless economic opportunities in STEM fields and the tech industry – but for too long, the doors to that economic opportunity were closed to many Californians in rural areas, especially for farm workers and their children,” said Arturo S. Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers. “The AdelanTECH Leadership Program is about opening those doors and giving talented leaders in our rural communities the skills they need to break into those industries and change their lives. The AdelanTECH Leadership Program encompasses our and our members’ vision for life outside the fields.”

“Udacity’s collaboration with AT&T to design and deliver Nanodegree programs is not only a first in the industry, it is critical to boosting diversity in the innovation economy,” said Vish Makhijani, President and Chief Operating Officer of Udacity. “Through programs like the AdelanTECH Leadership Program – and the more than 1,200 Nanodegree scholarships funded by AT&T and Udacity nationwide – we are helping prepare students everywhere for careers in the tech industry.”

While employers continue to prioritize innovation and technical skills when hiring, problem-solving is viewed as critical for success in the workforce [Hart Research Associates]. A recent survey found that 44 percent of U.S. employers believe that the U.S. workforce is facing a serious gap in soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration [Adecco]. Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of job success is due to personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead – only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge [Forbes].

“Technology is everywhere, but technical skills can only get you so far in addressing today’s complex challenges,” said Susan Shain, CEO, CORO Northern California. “By pairing technology training with soft skills and leadership development through the AdelanTECH Leadership Program, we are helping to develop a new generation of leaders – capable and motivated not only to innovate, but to create positive change in communities across California.”

The AdelanTECH Leadership Program is a collaboration of AT&T, United Farm Workers, CORO Northern California and Udacity. The program runs from July 2015 to August 2016 and includes 10 months of leadership training from CORO and a front-end web development Nanodegree credential from Udacity. AT&T has fully funded the inaugural program and provided scholarships to the first class of 12 fellows, valued at $7,000 per student. More information on the AdelanTECH Leadership program is available at: http://www.adelantechleadership.com/.

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