Technology Initiative in Detroit Public Schools

Written by Stacey Andell for Schools K-12

New Technology Partners

The Detroit Board of Education revealed four new key partners in the ongoing technical development of Detroit schools.   These partners will work together with Detroit schools for the next five years to improve the quality and access to technology throughout the area.   The following companies, three of which are Detroit based, will be part of the program:

VisionIT, which is located in Detroit’s New Center, has offices in Chicago and Atlanta, and counts Wayne State University, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Xerox, Dell and Siemens among its many clients. VisionIT’s services will include management of the data center, network services, application systems, data warehouse, help desk, and field services and technology curriculum.  VisionIT will team up with SYNC Technologies, Inc., a minority and woman-owned firm that has been in business for nearly 20 years, and Unisys to execute the contract.

Management Systems Consultants, a Detroit-based firm that has provided e-solution consulting and project management services to various clients for more than a quarter of a century. It will provide web technology services, including the design and maintenance of all websites and web applications.

Universal Sales, a Detroit-based company whose employees collectively have more than 170 years of audio-visual experience.

GVC Networks, a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) that is licensed to provide telecommunications and information technology services in 41 states. GVC Networks maintains a presence in Downtown Detroit.

How the Companies Were Chosen

Detroit schools entertained bids from seventeen companies nationwide before choosing the four technology partners.   The competition was fierce and there were some very difficult decisions to be made in the interest of serving the Detroit school population as well as possible.   The superintendent, William F. Coleman III, expresses optimism about the new partners, stating: “We are pleased with the caliber of the companies that won this contract. Most of these companies are companies that are familiar to us. We know and admire their work. I have no doubt that our students, faculty and staff will benefit enormously from their rich and varied experience.”

In addition to their roles as technology providers, the four partner companies will also play another interesting part in Detroit schools.  All of the companies will be creating internships for Detroit school students to work and study in the real world.   Superintendent Coleman was particularly interested in these internships programs when selecting the companies to win the bid as technology partners.  In this way, Detroit school students benefit in more ways than simply having more technology available to them in schools.   Students will begin working in internships at the companies and learning important real life skills as well as improving their college applications and professional prospects.   These students and many more will therefore see how business and education can work together to provide opportunities for Detroit school students to learn more about the world of technology.    The technology partnerships with these four companies are sure to bring new ideas and new products into the Detroit school system and help students compete in the twenty first century.