Southside Middle teens learned important workforce skills at AT&T’s Aspire Mentoring Academy

Junior Achievement of North Florida collaborated with AT&T to provide mentoring to students at-risk of dropping out of school.

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On March 5, twenty-six Southside Middle School students participated in JA Job Shadow with AT&T employees as part of Aspire Mentoring Academy. The event took place at the company’s Southside location in Jacksonville.

The students interacted with employees from different areas of the company ranging from regional managers to engineering and construction.

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“We work with AMA [Aspire Mentoring Academy] to help young people like you see the many types of jobs out there and the opportunities available to you,” said Chris Jamke, a regional manager who explained that he has worked his way up in the company during the past 15 years.

The AT&T employees offered advice such as “you create your own destiny,” and stressed the importance of getting a degree, making the right choices and surrounding yourself with the right people.

They encouraged the students to learn as much as they can in school and work toward their dreams.

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Providing young people with real-world learning experiences can be key to improving U.S. high school graduation rates. Currently, 1 in 5 students do not graduate with their class on time. One in three young people overall (34 percent) and even more at-risk youth (37 percent) report they never had an adult mentor of any kind (naturally occurring or structured) while they were growing up. (Source: See below)

Through this partnership with AT&T, Junior Achievement is targeting Title I schools, or schools with graduation rates of 70 percent or lower, focusing on at-risk populations.

“This group of students are free/reduced lunch and have poor attendance issues,” said Southside Middle School counselor, Tiera Thomas.
“I truly enjoyed taking the kids out of their element and exposing them to something new. They have received information on career opportunities offered at AT&T. They have heard that goals must be set, education must be taken serious, and always dream BIG.”

Source: “The Mentoring Effect”