AT&T invests in Aspire amid its own workforce problems

Telecommunications services provider AT&T (NYSE:T) has announced the company will put an additional $250 million in its Aspire education fund aimed at boosting the U.S. high-school graduation rate.

The four-year-old program awards grants to schools, non-profit organizations and researchers to advance efforts to help more students to graduate from high school with vocational skills.

Since its 2008 inception, AT&T Aspire has spent about $100 million on the program, which includes a job-shadowing program. The newly-announced $250 million in funding will come over five years, the company said.

AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson told CNN Money that there is a self-serving aspect to its funding infusion, in that it sees the Aspire program as a way to improve the chances of skilled workers being added to the U.S. jobs market, workers it can then hire to address what has become an increasingly desperate need for broadband installation technicians.

Interestingly, in recent years, Dallas-based AT&T has reduced its workforce. For instance, as recently as January, the company cut about 150 jobs in Connecticut. Another irony is that AT&T has been at odds with a large portion of its wireline workforce recently, as it continues to negotiate with union officials.

For more:
- here's the CNN Money story

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