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N.C. A&T to offer 3 online graduate programs — including an MBA — to AT&T employees
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N.C. A&T to offer 3 online graduate programs — including an MBA — to AT&T employees

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NCAT student center

N.C. A&T students walk by the student union where construction work continues on Sept. 6, 2018. The university has scheduled a grand opening of the $90 million facility for Sept. 20.

GREENSBORO — N.C. A&T has a new place to recruit for three master’s programs: AT&T’s workforce of 250,000 employees.

The university and telecom giant announced Thursday that AT&T employees will be able to enroll in three fully online graduate programs: the MBA, the master’s in information technology and master’s in technology management.

Most of these students will need a year-and-a-half or two years to complete their degrees. Eligible AT&T employees will get tuition assistance from the company. They’ll pay the online-only rate, which is roughly half the price charged to students who take classes on campus.

Though AT&T employees didn’t learn of this new arrangement until June, 26 enrolled in fall classes at the Greensboro university — 11 in the MBA track and the rest split almost evenly between the two technology programs. Provost Beryl McEwen said N.C. A&T expects to get 25 to 30 students each year from the company.

As part of what Fortune magazine called “what may be the most ambitious retraining program in corporate American history,” the 136-year-old company is retraining much of its workforce to handle new high-tech jobs.

AT&T in recent years has arranged for its students to be able to take classes at two online-only education companies and five other traditional universities, including Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. N.C. A&T is the sixth university — and the first historically black college and university — to work formally with AT&T on its education initiative.

A key player in bringing the school and company together was Venessa Harrison, the president of AT&T North Carolina. Harrison said at the announcement ceremony Thursday that she was thankful that AT&T helped her complete her degree at N.C. A&T.

Though the technology AT&T uses has changed dramatically during her career, “something which has not changed is our strong and abiding commitment and belief in the power for education and the need for continuous learning and how education can truly transform the lives of individuals and our state,” said Harrison, who has been an N.C. A&T trustee since 2015. “Today’s announcement extends that vision into the future and beyond the campus of N.C. A&T State University and beyond North Carolina.”

Also at Thursday’s ceremony, AT&T donated $215,000 to the university. N.C. A&T plans to use the money to improve online courses and support the Cheatham-White Scholarship, a new full-ride scholarship program partly funded by the state.

Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.

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