• June 21, 2024

STC & AT&T partner to create digital equity

STC & AT&T partner to create digital equity

Jonathan Ramirez has been borrowing a laptop from the South Texas College Library, through a service available to all students, but recently, his dream of owning his own laptop came true thanks to a partnership between STC and AT&T.

The college and the Dallas-based telecommunications company, which is now the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., hosted a laptop distribution event with the goal of closing the digital divide in the McAllen community.

“It’s a great privilege and honor to receive this laptop. It’s going to be a big help in completing my educational career here at STC, and beyond,” said Ramirez. “This is so helpful for people like me who don’t have access to a laptop. This is one of the many ways that STC gives back to the community, and this generosity is rare. I’m very grateful. Thank you very much.”

AT&T and Human-I-T provided STC with 100 refurbished laptops as a companywide commitment to help address the digital disparity, all part of the AT&T Connected Learning Initiative.

“Bridging the digital divide is critical for students and families in South Texas,” said Rodney Rodriguez, Ph.D., STC vice president of Institutional Advancement and Economic Development. “With this laptop distribution, 100 local students and families will have improved access to educational, economic, health and other online resources.  At STC, we appreciate AT&T and Human-I-T for helping work to bridge the digital divide in McAllen.”

Veronica Arredondo, mother of STC student Desiree Castillo, said this is a wonderful opportunity for parents, like herself, who are unable to afford laptops for their children.

“Technology is expensive, and most of the time, for parents like me, it’s not affordable. I consider this a luxury,” she said. “We are so lucky that Desiree was selected as one of the laptop recipients. It’s wonderful that STC also serves our students in this capacity. We are eternally grateful for this partnership and for STC and AT&T working together to bring this opportunity to our students.”

Castillo shared her mom’s sentiment. She is thankful that STC and other businesses like AT&T find it important to invest in students like herself.

“Receiving this laptop is the best thing, and it is going to take me far in my education,” said Castillo. “This initiative is a huge help, and I’m so thankful to STC and AT&T for investing in our futures.”

AT&T Texas Vice President of External Affairs J.D. Salinas expressed how proud he is to collaborate with STC, and be able to help students like Ramirez and Castillo continue their education with the technology that they need.

“AT&T is proud to collaborate with organizations like Human-I-T and South Texas College,”said Salinas. “Access to computers is vital in helping to bridge the digital divide, and we are glad we can assist in providing these resources to those that need them most. It truly is a great day.”

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in Texas 2.8 million households and 7 million people lack broadband access. This is 23% of the Texas population that doesn’t have access to online education classes and job applications or even the ability to get virtual health care.

“At STC, we are about transforming higher education for our region, but to do that, our students must have the resources they need, such as laptops, to complete homework and assignments, which will motivate them toward a short-term certificate or degree,” said STC President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D. “This partnership with AT&T, has been a game changer for these students. There are now 100 more students who don’t have to worry about how they’re going to get their work done. We are so proud to have worked with our partners on this initiative.”

McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos added that these efforts and digital initiatives are crucial in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Closing the digital divide and improving access to new communications tools and technologies are of paramount importance in McAllen and communities across the Rio Grande Valley,” said Villalobos. “Lack of access can negatively impact Texans’ quality of life and limit economic opportunities. That’s why it’s vital that we continue all efforts to bridge the digital equity gap in Texas, including here in McAllen. We greatly appreciate AT&T and South Texas College for their support of our local students.”

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