Bell Atlantic, Department of Education Join Forces to Prepare Tomorrow's High-Tech Workforce

Bell Atlantic, Department of Education Join Forces to Prepare
Tomorrow's High-Tech Workforce

Company's $300,000 Grant Funds Two Telecommunications
Learning Labs

February 16, 1999


Harry Mitchell, Bell Atlantic


Dawn Schaffer, Department of Education


HARRISBURG, Pa. -- An innovative partnership between Bell Atlantic,
the Pennsylvania Department of Education and two vocational education
centers will help transform today's high-school students into tomorrow's
top telecommunications technicians.

The partnership, announced today during the opening ceremony of
Pennsylvania's 1999 Vocational-Technical Education Week, will equip
students at two pilot locations with the necessary skills for entry-level
telecommunications jobs. The two pilot telecommunications learning labs
are the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in New
Stanton, Westmoreland County, and the Middle Bucks Institute of
Technology in Jamison, Bucks County.

Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania is providing a $300,000 economic
development grant to fund the pilot labs, which will begin operating in

"Technology is driving today's economy straight into the future, requiring
even greater numbers of highly skilled, qualified workers," said
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker. "Through this public/private
partnership, Pennsylvania and Bell Atlantic are both recommitting
themselves to making this commonwealth -- its students, workforce and
communities -- a leader in the global economy."

"The Information Superhighway of the next century will be as important
to Pennsylvania's economic health as the interstate highway system was in
the 1950s and '60s," said Daniel J. Whelan, president and CEO of Bell
Atlantic - Pennsylvania. "Bell Atlantic has placed more than 700,000
circuit miles of advanced fiber optics throughout the commonwealth to
help pave this electronic highway, and it's critical that the workers who
build and maintain it have the technical skills required to keep
Pennsylvania connected."

The pilot schools have been recruiting students for the telecommunications
learning labs. A team of Bell Atlantic employees will work with the
schools to design, build and equip the labs with the necessary supplies,
from fiber-optic and copper cable to students' tools.

The Pennsylvania partnership's curriculum is patterned after TEC2000, a
highly successful Bell Atlantic school-to-career technical education
program in New Jersey. In a two-year program, students will learn the
fundamentals of telecommunications technology, including basic
telephone installation, cable splicing and pole climbing.

"These students will be able to hit the ground running with any number of
companies in Pennsylvania's increasingly competitive telecommunications
market," said Schweiker.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines
and 8.6 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies
are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and investments in 23 countries.