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Friday, July 19, 2024

Indianapolis Urban League receives first AT&T Connected Learning Center

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AT&T Indiana opened a new AT&T Connected Learning Center inside the Indianapolis Urban League.

Connected Learning Centers provide free internet access and education tools for those impacted by the digital divide. AT&T Indiana also provided a $50,000 contribution to the organization for additional support of the center.

RELATED: Will federal money to close Indiana’s digital gap help all who need it most?

“It’s about closing the digital divide and bringing young people into educational opportunities, careers and digital careers. We appreciate the leadership that is coming from AT&T,” said Indianapolis Urban League Board Chair Amy Conrad Warner.

According to the SRLB Digital Divide Dashboard, over 738,000 Hoosiers do not have internet access as of January this year; 100,000 of them are Black or African American.

A large portion of Marion County’s broadband score is above the accepted minimum speeds. However, numbers start to dwindle in the surrounding counties of Clinton, Tipton, Madison, Henry, Shelby, Morgan, Putnam and Montgomery.

17-year-old Amiya Burnett is a rising senior at Lawrence Central High School. She is currently a part of the Urban League enrichment program.

She said through the process she has completed multiple college tours and further discovered that preparing and applying for college before graduation is a top priority.

“I’m down here all the time, so I feel like this improvement will help me because I would be going into my next step of looking through scholarships and college, and now I can with these new devices,” said Burnett.

RELATED: Libraries reach across digital divide

“I can use this source for other things too like homework or just anything I need to do, like how people can apply for jobs.”

She has a working computer at home that she shares with her mom.

“I definitely understand how hard it is to not have one because for school now mostly everything’s online. So, if you don’t have a computer or a laptop, then you’re not really getting much done,” said Burnett.

AT&T Indiana President Bill Soards said that the need for connectivity was never clearer than during the last three years when the pandemic changed the way people rely on Wi-Fi.

“Kids had to go online to learn, and even today, many school curriculum continue to use significant online components. The same is true for many jobs, even medical care. This center brings that connectivity to more Indianapolis residents,” said Soards.

This is the 25th AT&T Connected Learning Center nationwide, but it is the first center placed inside of an Urban League. It is also the first center in the state.

The organization is the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans.

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792 or by email jadej@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON

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