When City of Erie Mayor Joe Schember took office, he put improving communication with constituents at the top of his administration’s to-do list. Schember wanted to create multi-platform ways of communicating with Erie residents, largely through electronic media, without spending too much of the city’s finances.
His team knew just where to turn for free technology services—Partnership Erie, a Black School of Business outreach center.
Dr. Kathleen Noce, teaching professor of management information systems at Behrend and director of Partnership Erie, was happy to help, putting several Management Information Systems majors on the case.
The students worked closely with Schember’s office and ultimately came up with a refreshingly simple design for the home page—a color photograph of the sun setting over Presque Isle Bay, as well as a search bar and the question “How Can We Help?” From there, visitors can navigate to a comprehensive and fully redesigned website.
The site has received many accolades for its design and ease of use. The MIS students did the work for free. Andy Steinmetz, then the city’s digital media coordinator, said the website work might have cost as much as $50,000 if the city had hired an outside firm.