New Statewide Technology Training Initiative Announced

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Monday, December 4th, 2017

As part of AT&T's continuing efforts to boost internet adoption, AT&T and Georgia 4-H announced a new technology program that bridges the generations and helps enhance connections across Georgia.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center reveals that understanding the relevance of the internet and learning how to use the internet are the two biggest obstacles to adoption.

From 2014 to 2016 alone, AT&T invested more than $5 billion in our wireless and wireline networks in Georgia. As private industry continues to invest to close the limited, remaining connectivity gap in rural areas, a key focus of the new statewide technology initiative is on increasing internet adoption.

To help boost internet adoption rates, the new technology program pairs Georgia 4-H student trainers with senior users and uses AT&T's Digital You curriculum to share how to have a safe and secure online experience. The personal one-on-one training results in benefits to all participants. Seniors enjoy an increased understanding of technology. And, student trainers sharpen invaluable leadership and interpersonal skills, helping prepare them to graduate career and college ready.

"As the way we communicate continues to evolve, more and more consumers of all ages are moving to newer technologies and devices, and for some, there is a learning curve," stated Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. "I applaud AT&T and our Georgia 4-H students as they work to ensure this transition is effortless for seniors across Georgia, especially in the more rural parts of our state."

"With support from AT&T and Georgia 4-H, more of Georgia's seniors are being enabled with important digital tools that assist in monitoring and managing nutritional and medical needs and increasing interaction with the ones they love," said State Representative Terry England. "A special thanks to AT&T and our Georgia 4-H students for working with our seniors, especially in our rural Georgia communities."

"High-speed internet has quickly become a preferred way to access information and communicate," stated Bill Leahy, President of AT&T Georgia. "We believe that enabling dedicated students to engage and inform Georgia seniors on the many benefits of digital literacy will help boost internet adoption rates and further connect our state."

"Our amazing Georgia 4-H students are working directly with seniors to illustrate the importance of digital literacy and safety for all generations," stated Arch Smith, Director of Georgia 4-H. "Our Georgia 4-H students are instructing seniors on an array of digital tasks – everything from learning how to video chat with friends and family, program security locks and codes to protect devices and personal data, post photos on Facebook and use calendar and reminder apps for things like doctor's appointments. Georgia 4-H is proud to collaborate with AT&T and excited to launch this training initiative, enhancing support in our communities – urban and rural."

The Barrow County Center, the Elbert County Senior Center, the Jasper County Senior Center, the Monroe County Senior Center and the Moultrie Senior Center are the senior centers hosting the #GACyberSeniors pilot program in December.

"Technology is no longer something seniors avoid, and this statewide program aims to help our seniors safely embrace the many benefits of digital literacy," stated Pat Graham, Chair of the Barrow County Commission. "Improving the digital skills of everyone is key to Georgia's future."