When I arrived in this country, I was 16 and facing my senior year in high school without knowing the language. Yet I understood the future offered success, if we pursued it through hard work and determination.
Like many immigrant families, mine was seeking economic opportunity. My father, who had been an architect in Colombia, effectively re-invented our family as we founded and operated a television production company, producing English and Spanish-language travel programs in locations all over the world. This unique experience helped to not only value my adopted culture, but to treasure my Hispanic upbringing as well.
Today, as a bi-cultural American, I look forward to the annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which concludes , for it recognizes the positive impact Hispanics have had, and still have, on our country.
I am proud of my heritage. But I am also proud to work for a company that recognizes and values the contributions of Hispanic-Americans every day. At AT&T, diversity and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords; they’re integral to our company’s culture and underlie our belief that our workforce should reflect the customers and communities we serve.
AT&T’s employees are our company’s greatest resource, and we make it a priority to attract, retain and develop talented people from a wide range of backgrounds. In fact, 15 of our total U.S. workforce is Hispanic; higher than the industry average.
We’re also investing in the future. Every year, AT&T, the AT&T Foundation and our employees contribute millions of dollars and tens of thousands volunteer hours to Latino student success.
Here in North Carolina, we’ve supported organizations like Communities in Schools, Latin Americans Working for Achievement and The North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals.
It’s also important that once students graduate, they have the skills it takes to compete in a workforce that is increasingly technology-focused. That’s why STEM education is one of AT&T’s priorities and why we have supported Code the Dream, which is bringing computer science education to immigrant high school students in Durham.
We’re also helping to strengthen existing businesses, including Hispanic-owned businesses, which are growing at double the rate of all businesses in the U.S. by working with organizations such as the NC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce and Prospera. As part of our Supplier Diversity program, we spend about 3 billion per year with Hispanic-owned businesses.
We are constantly investing in our networks and services to ensure we provide a first-rate experience to all of our customers. For over 30 years, we’ve operated a national Spanish speaking call center. And we have bilingual employee representatives at more than 750 of our retail stores nationwide.
This year, DiversityInc named us No. 1 on their annual list of
Top 50 Companies for Diversity and Latina Style named us No. 2 on its
Top 50 Company list. While we are proud of these and other awards, our focus continues to be on being a leader in diversity and inclusion, as well as supporting and connecting our Hispanic communities.