The Education Department's Office of Migrant Education awarded a contract to PEC Solutions Inc. of Fairfax to help create a system for states to share information about children of migrant workers.

Under a four-year, $6 million contract, PEC will provide acquisition and program-management support for the Migrant Student Information Exchange project. The company will help the agency develop the solicitation for the contract, which will be issued next year.

PEC will assess the feasibility of the technology that will be used to link state databases, and provide independent verification and validation and quality assurance for the project once it is awarded. Because of its role in developing the request for the proposal, PEC will be excluded from bidding on the contract. The mission of the Migrant Student Information Exchange project is to help the transfer of information about migrant students among states, school systems and the Education Department. The project will allow the sharing of student records and help determine the number of migrant students in each state.

More than 897,000 migrant children live in the United States, according to the Education Department. The mission of the Office of Migrant Education is to ensure that migrant students receive the support they need to meet state academic standards and graduate from high school with an education that prepares them for further learning and employment.

Although these children and their families are concentrated heavily in California, Florida, Texas and some other states, each state has migrant families that work in various industries, such as agriculture, fishing and timber.

Jennifer Dozier, an education program specialist with the Office of Migrant Education, said PEC won the contract because it has the experience to help write the request for the proposal for the software development project. PEC also has information technology expertise to screen the technology that will link the state databases.

"We wanted to get an expert company to give us some advice in terms of the best solutions and approaches that we will be reviewing," Dozier said.

PEC has provided program management support to a wide range of federal agencies and departments, including the Census Bureau, National Security Agency, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Homeland Security Department

The company has worked with the Education Department since 1994, said John Caron, vice president of PEC's Technology Management Division. The award continues the company's relationship with the department and "further expands the company's mature program management experience," he said.

William Welsh is a staff writer with Washington Technology. For more details on this and other technology contracts, go to