Sodexo and Partners Begin Work at DPS under New Contract

Sodexo and six minority-owned business partners, four of which are Detroit-headquartered, have assumed responsibility for all custodial, building repair, maintenance, engineering and grounds maintenance for the Detroit Public Schools.

Kwame Watkins (bio below), Sodexo’s Vice President of School Services/Detroit, will reside in Detroit and lead the team of partners in their efforts to effectively manage DPS property at 136 schools, covering 14.7 million square feet of facilities, so that teachers and administrators can focus on their core mission of educating Detroit children.

Sodexo has offered employment to all former DPS employees who have successfully completed the pre-employment process. Sodexo plans to hire a minimum 733 hourly employees which will create a minimum of 34 new jobs, not including management positions. Applications are still being processed for those DPS employees who were not able to attend the job fair.

Orientation for former DPS employees now working for Sodexo and its partners are this week at Cass Technical High School from 7:30a.m.-5:00 p.m. The orientation will introduce new employees to Sodexo and its partners’ processes and give them tools to ensure a smooth transition.

Former DPS employees who have been offered jobs with Sodexo and its partners have been asked to attend orientation this week according to a schedule that is based on the applicant’s last name.

“We were very gratified by the positive response from former DPS employees and look forward to a smooth orientation process and a smooth transition,” said Watkins. “The employees were very upbeat and optimistic as they went through the job fair and we are confident that will continue as we prepare for schools to reopen after their winter break this week.”

About Sodexo
Sodexo in North America Sodexo, Inc. (, leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On Site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $15 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at

About Detroit Public Schools
Detroit Public Schools is creating Centers of Excellence in every school in every neighborhood. The district’s primary mission is educating students to perform at high academic levels. This fall, the district unveiled reforms throughout the district’s 142 schools, including expanded time for reading and mathematics under a common core curriculum, pre-algebra for 7th graders, a tutor for every pre-kindergartner through the Volunteer Reading Corps, additional language courses available, Advanced Placement courses available at every high school, more opportunities for student apprenticeships, internships, shadowing and mentorships, millions of dollars in school building improvements, and new safety and security systems in every school through a $41.7 million public safety plan.

Kwame Watkins bio
Vice President of Operations, Sodexo School Services Detroit
Sodexo, Inc.

Kwame Watkins is Vice President of Operations for Sodexo School Services in Detroit, where he is responsible for overseeing operations at Detroit Public Schools (DPS), including custodial, building repair, maintenance, and engineering services for DPS’ 136 schools.

Previously, he served as Resident District Manager for Sodexo in Oklahoma City, where he was responsible for managing $25 million in facilities management services. He has been with Sodexo for 13 years and joined the Sodexo Education division in 2001. Watkins held positions as an in unit manager, account general manager and project engineer, supporting a national division and serving as district manager.

Within Sodexo he is an IMPACT mentor and mentee; member of the Sustainability Education and Expert Development Network and co-chair for the Central Region Cross Market Diversity Council. Watkins is also a Certified Facility Manager from the International Facility Management Association and a LEED Accredited Professional from the United States Green Building Council.

He has been actively involved in the following organizations: The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Urban League and National Cowboy Museum, Downtown Oklahoma City Urban Neighbors Association, IFMA and the Association of Energy Engineers.

Watkins earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada. He will reside in Detroit with his wife Alana and enjoys spending time with family, cooking, biking and golf.

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