General Motors has joined on as a partner of Connected Futures, a new program that is aiming to make learning from home easier for less fortunate Detroit school students.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many Detroit school students are learning from home. Not all students in the city have access to the internet or a computer, however, which is where Connected Futures comes in.
The non-profit program announced this week that it will place a computer tablet with high-speed LTE internet connectivity into the hands of every Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) K-12 student before the end of the school year. GM will help fund the program, along with other large Michigan-based businesses and charities such as Quicken Loans, DTE Energy and the Kellogg Foundation.
“The ability for our students to access the educational platforms that they use during the school day from home will elevate their learning year-round, not just during this crisis,” Dr. Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD superintendent, said in a prepared statement. “We know that our children perform exponentially better during the school year, but when they return in September, they’ve lost much of their progress from the prior school year. We are sincerely grateful to DTE for leading the charge on this initiative and for the many funders who have come forward to support our students.”
Connected Futures says this program will also help benefit less fortunate families on the whole, not just students. With an LTE-connected tablet, parents will be able to fill out online job applications more easily and take on worker development opportunities, among more.
“While students use the devices and internet connection to learn, their families will be able to easily access sites that can help them with everything from applying for financial assistance to finding a job,” the non-profit said in a statement.
“When we look back to this time in 10 years, we will see that this moment changed the trajectory of education in our city,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said of the program, which came together in just three weeks. “We have risen to the challenge of this pandemic and found a way to forge something positive for our children. This will be a defining moment of pride in Detroit for many, many years.”
GM has stepped up to the plate to help American citizens in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to donating to Connected Futures, the automaker is also producing face masks and other PPE for healthcare workers at a plant in Warren, Michigan and producing ventilators at its electronics components plant in Indiana. Vice President Mike Pence will tour GM’s ventilator production facility during a visit next Thursday.