Alcatel-Lucent, World Education Inc. Launch Program to Provide Life Training Skills to Children in Underserved Communities

Next Generation Communications Blog

Alcatel-Lucent, World Education Inc. Launch Program to Provide Life Training Skills to Children in Underserved Communities

By Beecher Tuttle

Telecom giant Alcatel-Lucent is spearheading a $6 million, three-year global initiative to provide digital skills training and other educational opportunities to young people from underserved and disadvantaged communities from around the world.

The program, dubbed ConnectED, was born from a partnership between the company's charitable arm, the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation, and World Education Inc., a U.S. non-profit organization that works to increase educational opportunities for girls and women in more than 50 countries.

ConnectED will fund equivalency programs, literacy courses, and re-entry classes for underserved youth who have dropped out of school. It will also provide street youth with basic education and life skills training designed to help them find employment opportunities when they grow up.

Those who take part in the program will learn how to use communication technologies to find a job, gather information and learn more about the world outside of their community.

Alcatel-Lucent is doing more than simply providing the funds. Employees of the France-based company will take a lead role in the program, providing the young men and women with hands-on technical training and mentoring.

"ConnectEd will be about using technology to transform the learning, work and life outcomes for disadvantaged youth," Beatrice Tassot, executive director of the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation, noted in a press release. 

"At Alcatel-Lucent we believe that possessing basic communications technology skills are essential to fostering inclusion and giving disadvantaged youth a better chance to leap across the opportunities gap and gain access to more and better employment options," she added.

In addition to training youth participants, Alcatel-Lucent and World Education Inc. will be launching specialized programs for local educators and mentors who work on a day-to-day basis with the children and young adults. These educators will be taught how to leverage the power of information and communications technologies to improve their curriculum and broaden the education of their students.

"Today in too many countries around the world, too many young people reach adulthood lacking the skills needed to prosper in our changing world," added Joel Lamstein, World Education CEO. "Thanks to this grant we will be able to work with remote and underserved schools and communities to improve educational services, skills training and their connection to the digital world."

The program will benefit more than 13,000 children from underserved communities in Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Egypt, France and India, the majority of whom are girls and young women.

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