What’s New in Civic Tech: Data Shows Tech Hiring Is Up

Plus, Baltimore unveils a new data dashboard related to traffic stops; a Tennessee accelerator pushes to boost tech companies in the state; New Mexico seeks to improve Internet access and more.

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An analysis by the nonprofit Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) found that hiring activity for tech jobs has reached the highest point in nearly two years.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a significant portion of these job postings were listed in major metro areas. According to the release, markets like Washington, D.C.; New York; Dallas; Los Angeles; Atlanta; San Francisco; Chicago; Boston; San Jose; and Seattle accounted for about 36 percent of IT job postings in May 2021.

What may be more interesting is the rate of increases in IT job postings in markets not nationally recognized for their tech industry — like Virginia Beach-Norfolk — which saw a 60 percent increase in postings.

A key detail to consider is how the tech-sector job market compared to the national job market during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2021, the national unemployment rate reached 5.5 percent, but it was only 2.4 percent for IT occupations.

The manufacturing sector leads the industry in demand for IT professionals, followed by professional, scientific and technical services. Manufacturing also leads the industry in demand for AI job postings.

For more information on the tech job market, the report can be viewed on CompTIA’s website.

BALTIMORE COUNTY UNVEILS TRAFFIC STOP DATA DASHBOARD


A new interactive data dashboard will provide detailed information about traffic stops that occur in Baltimore County, Md. The dashboard was released on June 4, 2021.

The data includes number of traffic stops by race, reason for the stops and outcomes. Users will be able to look at stop, search and arrest trends in relation to demographic statistics.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski released this in response to a recommendation from the Equitable Policing Advisory Group, which was made permanent in July 2020. The group was initially started in November 2019, after a review of traffic stop data showed African American individuals were receiving citations at a higher rate than other individuals.

The dashboard can be viewed on the Baltimore County Government website.

TENNESSEE ACCELERATOR TO SPUR GROWTH FOR TECH COMPANIES


Announced June 3, 2021, Techstars’ Industries of the Future Accelerator will help startups grow, aiming to grow 30 technology companies in three years.

The accelerator was launched as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee System partnered with Techstars.

The expected cost of the accelerator is $9 million, and the three entities will share the cost.

According to Techstars’ website, the program will focus on industries including AI, advanced manufacturing, quantum information science, 5G/advanced wireless technology, biotechnology and clean energy technology.

NEW MEXICO BEGINS PUSH TO IMPROVE INTERNET ACCESS


According to the Associated Press, New Mexico has begun a push to improve Internet access throughout the state.

John Salazar, information technology secretary, told lawmakers that Deloitte is helping the state find opportunities for federal grant money, acknowledging that infrastructure modernization will likely require investments of $1 billion.

This follows recently approved funding to expand high-speed Internet access during the fiscal year that starts in July 2021.

CITY OF ANACORTES TO ADD TWO NEW IT POSITIONS


There will be two new IT positions, an information systems and technology technician and a supervisory control and data technician (SCADA) in Anacortes, Wash.

The decision was made during a City Council meeting on June 7, 2021.

During the meeting, Emily Schuh, administrative services director, said these positions are needed as the department’s daily workload and security needs increase. She cited the additional IT needs involved with new technology, such as those related to adding body cameras in the police department.

“Every place that we add a little bit of technology has this compounding effect on the department,” Schuh stated.
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.