Network connectivity helps a Texas nonprofit transform lives
Posted on: November 4, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski
By: Dan Barlow, Product Manager
Cloud Connect and Ethernet
Support for multiple locations is simplified with one network and one provider
An array of learning facilities spread across several counties keeps a Texas nonprofit’s IT department — and network — busy.
The nonprofit operates, at minimal to no cost to participants, a charter high school where adults earn diplomas, a remote-learning diploma program for prison inmates and a career academy with accelerated training and professional certifications. Many of the students have disabilities, criminal backgrounds, or a lack of education and stable housing. Funding for the programs is covered by revenue generated from dozens of retail sites, services such as temporary staffing, and an online storefront.
However, the nonprofit’s technology approach at the various locations proved to be an obstacle for continued growth. So when a new IT director took stock of the network and determined it wasn’t configured efficiently or performing as well as it should, he knew it was time to take action. The organization had a multi-provider network that was “a complete mishmash,” he recalls, “with fiber into our main building, and everything from DSL modems to T1 lines to microwave antennas to cable modems.”
Streamlining network operations with one partner
To simplify operations and connect locations, the organization switched to Spectrum Enterprise Ethernet and Fiber Internet Access (FIA) service. “Because of Spectrum Enterprise, I’m not running around trying to maintain disparate and unreliable systems,” says the IT director.
Now, the nonprofit can better support its mission to give the underserved a leg up in life with access to the latest technology in the many facilities connected to the network. Inside the classrooms, teachers use interactive “smart boards” that enable students who miss a class to see what was written on the board, hear the instruction and interact with videos. Every classroom has WiFi-enabled Internet, and the school has an integrated video message board showing updates, club information and schedules.
The single, reliable network also links the main office, learning facilities and retail locations, and enables digital state testing, processing of online orders and more.
Better serving the mission with a single technology approach
Because the nonprofit no longer has to manage multiple IT vendors and systems, staff can now focus more time on developing new digital ways to drive revenue. This allows the organization to continue empower thousands of participants each year through free, or nearly free, educational services and training.
The organization’s IT director observes that they’ve helped a large number of people not just find jobs, but embark on well-paying careers. “Technology and connectedness have allowed us to achieve those successes,” he says. “Spectrum Enterprise has been an active participant in all of it.”
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