AT&T, a multinational telecommunications corporation, has supported the Chicago Urban League for more than 25 years, providing significant financial support to the Workforce Development Center’s initiatives as well as the the League’s signature fundraising events. AT&T generously supports the AT&T-branded ‘Digital Empowerment Workshops’ which allows the League’s Workforce Development Center to incorporate digital literacy throughout its various training programs. In the following Q&A, Paul La Schiazza, President of AT&T Illinois, and a Chicago Urban League Board Member, discusses why AT&T invests in resources that enhance job placement skills for underserved communities, and the motivation for his personal commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism.
Paul V. La Schiazza, President at AT&T Illinois and AT&T Midwest and Chicago Urban League Board Member
What is your role at AT&T?
I serve as president of both AT&T Illinois and AT&T Midwest. In that capacity, I oversee AT&T External and Legislative Affairs for Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.
How long have you served on the Chicago Urban League Board of Directors and what do you hope to accomplish during your tenure?I have served on the board for approximately nine years and would like to help connect AT&T’s community & philanthropy goals to the great mission of the Chicago Urban League.
AT&T currently supports the Workforce Development Center’s Digital Empowerment Workshops. Why do you think it is important for companies, to invest in programs that provide resources to facilitate access to technology and enhanced job placement skills?
AT&T wants to help people connect to employment opportunities using modern technology, and that’s why we support of the Chicago Urban League’s Digital Empowerment Workshop. This contribution is already helping to provide greater access to technology and improved computer skills for job readiness. Hundreds have improved their marketability for employment through this initiative.
How do you see the partnership with the Chicago Urban League evolving?
We recognize our people are our greatest strength in this competitive global economy. And we want and need to have a well-trained diverse workforce to continue to meet the challenges today and in the years and, even, decades to come. That is why we are so excited about the work we’re supporting at the Chicago Urban League.
Why is philanthropy and volunteering important to you personally?
I feel very blessed in my life. Along this journey, others helped me find my way and provided opportunities to help me succeed. To me, these connections are essential to every life. It could be parents, teachers, coaches or clergy who spur a person along with encouraging words and support. Those who came before us invested resources in programs that sparked the embers of our possibilities, our potential, and our promise. They helped prepare the next generation. Now I think it’s up to me – and to all of us -- to do that too.