Mayor Duggan announces new Digital Equity Director to lead Detroit’s fight to close the Digital Divide
- Burkette brings a wealth of experience in the IT, education and DEI sectors
- A Detroit native, she has a passion for building connectivity in every corner of the city
- Part of Mayor’s vision to ensure digital equity in all neighborhoods
Mayor Mike Duggan today announced the appointment of Christine Burkette as the city’s new Digital Equity Director. Burkette, a Detroit native and IT company CEO, is excited to use her experience to continue the work of closing the digital divide in her hometown from the inside out.
“Detroit has continued to lead the way nationally on Digital Equity & Inclusion,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We have no doubt that adding Christine as the leader of this team will continue to help Detroit close the Digital Divide, continuing the City’s path to become one of the most connected cities in America.”
In her new role, Burkette will work to create and implement strategy around digital equity led by input from the community, using a data driven approach. She is excited to hear from residents about what they need and how she and her team can work to best direct city resources and programs to make the greatest impact in our community.
Burkette plans to work with Detroit City Council Members and create focus groups to learn the connectivity challenges that exist in Detroit. She notes needs vary throughout the city. An example of this is the fact that connectivity in neighborhoods with primarily cinderblock homes presents a different set of challenges than in neighborhoods with brick and siding homes. Burkette is looking forward to taking these challenges on.
“Detroit has always been hailed as a mecca of innovation, and I came to work at the city to make sure Detroiters have equal access to high-speed internet they need to educate, train for and win the jobs of the future,” said Burkette. “We have to increase expectations, accountability and outcomes around a sustained plan to close the Digital Divide for good.”
She will continue the city’s partnership with Connect 313 and will work in coordination with industry and philanthropic leaders to link resources to residents. The ARPA-funded Hope Village broadband connectivity project is underway, and Burkette can’t wait to see that through to completion.
Burkette is proud to have accomplished so much as a Black woman working in a field dominated by men. The IT firm she founded in 2004, Promising Integration Consulting Firm, Inc. (PICF Inc.), is the only female, and Black-owned IT consulting firm in the State of Michigan. PICF, Inc. is an IT consulting firm with over one hundred employees ranging from content developers, retired teachers/school leaders to network engineers, providing services ranging from K-12 online learning to cyber security.
Burkette served as the Chief Information Officer at Detroit Public Schools Community District from 2017-2018, where she delivered IT system services district-wide, managed implementation of new cyber security protocol, streamlined operations and improved efficiency and productivity at the District by 98% in the first 90 days on the job. She also designed and launched the school district’s first online 9th Grade admissions test and testing platform. In 2014, Burkette designed and launched General Motors’ global new hire onboarding program working on a very tight timeline. The program was hugely successful and drew praise from the IT community.
Burkette also has over 10 years of experience as a speaker covering topics ranging from DEI, Innovative IT Solutions, and Leading in Tech. She works with organizations such as Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) and Women of Color.
Burkette graduated from Northwestern High School, where her love for science and music motivated her to travel over 30 miles each way by bus for the schools’ superior curriculum. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Delaware State University. She also earned a Master of Science in curriculum and instruction from Capella University and another Master of Science from Marygrove College. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Technology.