Michigan schools, nonprofits to get free internet to serve 4,100 at-risk students

LANSING—As students and teachers mark a full year remote learning, AT&T and broadband nonprofit Connected Nation are continuing to work to put the connectivity vital to education into the hands of those who need it most.

Connected Nation Michigan, the statewide program of national nonprofit Connected Nation, is announcing that 13 schools and nonprofits across the state will receive free mobile hotspots and internet connectivity to serve 4,109 at-risk students.

They are part of the more than 100 organizations and school districts that will benefit from a $10 million commitment by AT&T first announced last year to provide free internet subscriptions and wireless hotspots to 35,000 vulnerable students across the country.

“What makes this program so critical is that it seeks to help students who have been disproportionately disconnected from formal learning opportunities due to COVID-19,” said Tom Ferree, chairman and CEO of Connected Nation. “The investment being made through the AT&T K-12 homework gap program will not only allow these kids to fully participate in remote learning now, but also to catch up on learning lost during the pandemic. We must all work together to minimize and mitigate the impact that the pandemic has had on our must vulnerable youth.”

AT&T collaborated with Connected Nation to administer the program and review the applications and needs of schools and nonprofits serving at-risk kids. The program is primarily focused on impacting and helping at risk students including students in foster care, those with disabilities, and other at-risk students disconnected from formal education opportunities.

“Now more than ever, it is important for students to have access to a reliable internet connection,” said AT&T Michigan President David Lewis. “By helping to expand connectivity for the students across Michigan, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap and helping address inequities associated with virtual learning.”

The 13 Michigan organizations and schools benefiting from the K-12 homework gap program are:

“I work with communities across the state to improve their access to high-speed internet and one of the most impacted populations is our children—especially since the pandemic forced almost all learning to move online,” said Eric Frederick, executive director of Connected Nation Michigan. “I applaud AT&T for its commitment to helping those students who are most at-risk. By providing these free hotspots and internet connectivity to schools and nonprofits that are doing good work across the state, AT&T is making it possible for thousands of Michigan students to take part in remote learning.”

There are 124 awardees in the program that span 26 states—representing 81 schools and 43 nonprofits. In total, 35,000 hotspots will be given to programs that help at-risk students across the country. Schools and nonprofits could seek up to 500 hotspots per application.

To see the full list of awardees and learn more about the impact of this program, head to connectednation.org/homeworkgap. You can also learn more about the offer here or visit www.att.com/closethegap.

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