UTIA and AT&T Partner to Provide Rural Tennessee with Digital Literacy Training

September 11, 2023

In a digital age, access to broadband is essential for many everyday modern tasks. However, for many in rural Tennessee, broadband is still out of reach.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is teaming up with AT&T Foundation to address the challenge of broadband access and education through the Tennessee Broadband Digital Literacy Training Program.

“Through the partnership with AT&T Foundation, the digital literacy program will engage, invest and train citizens in skills that improves broadband adoption, says Sreedhar Upendram, associate professor in agricultural and resource economics at UT. “This program aims to address the digital divide by strengthening partnerships with local businesses, entrepreneurs, senior centers and the labor force across 42 communities in Tennessee.”

The AT&T Foundation presented a check for $100,000 on September 7 to kickstart the project. The digital literacy program will provide training workshops in 42 rural counties across the state of Tennessee.

“The men and women of AT&T are committed to the communities across Tennessee where we live and work, and our commitment goes beyond expanding and enhancing our broadband networks,” said Joelle Phillips, president, AT&T Tennessee. “We are also committed to supporting critical programs – like UT’s Digital Literacy Training Program – that are building stronger communities and better futures.”

Thanks to the support of AT&T, UT Extension will be able to provide hands-on training for those in economically distressed counties who have limited or no access to broadband internet. This program will create access to jobs, skills, and educational programs for digitally disconnected residents.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.