Editor's note: In this series, Public CIO set forth to find answers from several of the nation’s top CIOs who have served or currently are in state, local and federal positions. These firsthand accounts are about how establishing partnerships, trusting and letting go, investing in people, and assessing situations have all been instrumental to smart decision-making.
Developing a strategy for expanding my role as a public-sector CIO to the community was the smartest thing I ever did as a CIO. I combined my background in broadband technology and digital economic development with a personal desire to extend my CIO experience to better serve the Raleigh community and youth development. With some facts about technology adoption in our local community and the development of private-sector partnerships in the region, we’ve been able to transcend the traditional role of the public CIO. This effort has had a positive impact on the next generation of workers and the city’s role as a community change agent. The targeted group of young Americans will inevitably impact workforce development, digital literacy and advance our strategies to enhance community self-sufficiency.
My role as CIO and community relations officer connects the technology to the people in the community by preparing a cohort of gifted students to educate and train adults in their local neighborhoods. These trained tech soldiers commit to give back to their community in exchange for free training and technology tools they receive during a structured educational program taught in a high-tech training lab in the city’s newly renovated teen center.
The smartest thing I did was align the program’s goals with the overall strategy and vision of the city of Raleigh organization. Partnering with the private sector for funding support has kept program costs palatable for the organization and extends the philosophy that the municipal CIO can promote valuable relationships outside the myopic vision of the traditional public-sector CIO.