IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

What’s New in Civic Tech: 6 Major Cities Get I-Teams

Plus, Ohio state technologists collaborate to build a new tool aimed at connecting job seekers with employers and Virginia unveils plans to funnel $11.1 million into workforce tech projects.

A person about to press a power button next to the word "innovation."
Six major world cities will be partnering with Bloomberg Philanthropies on three-year grants that will fund Innovation Teams (i-teams) in their city halls, officials have announced.

Those cities are Amsterdam; Bogotá, Colombia; Mexico City; Reykjavík, Iceland; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C., and they are joining a program with a robust legacy. The goal of the i-teams program is to push forward digital transformation in ways that improve the lives of residents, especially now as local governments the world over work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, being selected for this program means that the cities will now get financial support and technical advice from Bloomberg, the value of which will total about $17 million to be split between the cities. The goal is for this to enable the cities to hire new innovation specialists while also benefiting from premiere coaching and advice. The criteria for the selection of the six was “the success and ambition of their current digital efforts and their mayors’ commitment to creating more digitally inclusive and connected cities,” according to the press release announcing the selection.

In terms of the program’s legacy, the i-teams program was started all the way back in 2011, and it has now funded work in more than 40 cities across the globe. Cities all over the U.S. have benefited from this program, which has long had a goal of ensuring that the innovation work it funds lasts long past the three-year grant window that being selected includes. Previous selectees for the program include some of the most influential innovation cities, from Boston to Anchorage, Alaska.

What’s new about this group of cities is that it’s the first in which the innovation work has a strong and stated focus on digital transformation, rather than innovation more broadly, be it analog or online. This — as the press release again notes — is a direct result of how crucial digitized service showed itself to be during the pandemic.

Indeed, the past 12 months have seen a veritable sea change in the government tech and innovation sector as far as how the work is perceived. Elected officials are now armed with tangible examples of how vital this work is, which means greater public buy-in and many other cultural benefits that support the progress of the work.

“During COVID, San Francisco experienced tremendous success by following the data and science to help protect public health,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed in the press release. “Our data-driven approach helped us deliver better services and build trust at a very challenging time for our City. Thanks to the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, we can build off the lessons learned from COVID and improve how San Francisco serves all of its residents, and create a more efficient, accessible, and equitable government as we emerge from this pandemic.” (Zack Quaintance)

OHIO TOOL AIMS TO CONNECT JOB SEEKERS WITH EMPLOYERS


Ohio has launched a new online resource aimed at connecting job seekers with potential employers.

Dubbed SkillsMatch, the tool can be found at OhioMeansJobs.com. It is intended to connect jobseekers in the state with employment opportunities. With this platform, users upload resumes, and then the resource extracts data about their skills from that resume in order to connect them with relevant job listings based on that information.

Developed through the Office of Workforce Transformation, InnovateOhio and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the tool works with the OhioMeansJobs website to gather data that will help create better matches. That website currently has over 185,000 jobs posted.

The tool also shows job seekers how their skills compare to those required in a particular job posting. It will also let them know if particular skills are missing from their resume. (Julia Edinger)

VIRGINIA INVESTS $11.1 MILLION IN WORKFORCE INNOVATION GRANTS


Virginia is investing $11.1 million in a series of grants called Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia), and that program has components aimed at innovative projects in the workforce development space.

Specifically, the money will go toward 20 projects that focus on workforce development, supporting startup businesses, and expanding Virginia’s collection of business-ready sites. Some of the projects focus on training the future workforce with technology skills to fill skills gaps, while others focus on things like technology-based entrepreneurship. Some are geared towards the workforce in general.

GO Virginia is an existing program that has funded 182 projects since it was created in 2017. It has awarded $68 million to economic development efforts. More information about GO Virginia can be found on the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development website. (Julia Edinger)
Associate editor for Government Technology magazine
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.