Eight U.S. cities and 25 fellows have been chosen to participate in next year's Code for America, a nonprofit program that brings together volunteers and local governments to work on innovative IT projects.

The cities selected for 2012 are Austin, Texas; Chicago; Detroit; Honolulu; Macon, Ga., New Orleans; Philadelphia; and Santa Cruz, Calif. The cities were picked from more than 20 candidates.

Twenty-five fellows were picked from a pool of 550 applicants. According to Code for America, the 2012 fellows include Google employee Michelle Lee, who has worked on the company's Maps, Flu Trends and Docs products available to consumers on the Web. The volunteers include Web developers, graphic designers, civic and urban planners, and other related disciplines.

Nineteen fellows have been working this year on projects for the city governments of Boston, Seattle and Philadelphia. Their work has resulted in more than 40 new and innovative projects, the nonprofit said. Each of the three cities paid $250,000 as part of the conditions to participate, and Code for America is also supported by donor contributions from nonprofit organizations and the private sector.

Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America, told Government Technology a year ago that the program paid fellows a $35,000 stipend, along with health-care benefits and travel expenses. The volunteers spent time on site in their assigned city and also at Change for America's San Francisco headquarters.

For 2012, Austin wants to build a community engagement platform. Chicago wants to deploy the Open 311 standard, while Philadelphia - named for the second year in a row - will analyze the effectiveness of Change By Us, the neighborhood project platform he city developed and deployed during this year's fellowship. The smallest cities in the 2012 program - Macon and Santa Cruz - plan to work on citizen engagement technology and business permitting efficiency, respectively.