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California Conservation Corps to Replace its Data Collection and Reporting System

The Conservation Corps is in the very beginning stage of the project, and will be looking for a system integrator.

The California Conservation Corps recruits young adults from 18 to 25 years of age, to work for the state, doing everything from energy audits to trail building and fire fighting. The CCC has 24 locations around the state and residential centers where corps members live.

While they work, corps members receive education and training to qualify for scholarships and bonuses. And while the recession’s end might be expected to reduce the number of applicants, that’s not the case, said CIO Rita Gass. Currently the CCC gets about 600 applications per month, and with the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and the state’s drought program, demand for corps members is growing.

Fortunately, the CCC just completed a Salesforce-based Job Science recruitment system and putting applications online for the first time has doubled the number of applications. The online system has also helped recruit veterans who – unlike other corps members – do not have to come from California. The 30-year old Advantage/Clipper recruitment program was phased out beginning last October and the new system went live in January. While the system is now complete, Gass said that the CCC is growing and the system may at some point require expansion and further automation.

Now, the CCC has taken the first step to replace another legacy system, the CCC Automated Data Collection and Reporting System (CADCARS.) “This is our mission-critical system,” said Gass.

CADCARS has three functions: First, it tracks all CCC projects, including reimbursables, which account for 40 percent of CCC funding. The system tracks contracts and projects, does invoicing, etc. The second function is managing corps member personal information, onboarding, benefits, leave balances and timekeeping tied to projects. The third function is corps member development, education and training. “They are receiving education while they are working,” Gass explained, “so anybody without a high school diploma has to go to a high school program … to get a diploma.”

Gass has worked on the CADCARS replacement feasability study report since January 2012 and got the green light this month.  “We’re in the very beginning stage of the project,” said Gass, “and we will be looking for a system integrator.”  She said CCC will be working with the Resources Agency and the Department of Technology. And since it has components like contracts, part of the system will interface with Fi$Cal, the state's financial information system. The solution will be a hybrid, Gass said. “We will be using software as a service as the main system, but we will have components at the Resource Agency Data Center, so that we can have a seamless transfer of data between the cloud and Fi$Cal, State Controller’s Office or the State Compensation Insurance Fund.”
Gass will meet this week with the Department of Technology that will determine the type of procurement to be developed. She said that for CADCARS, she’s looking for the kind of successful partnership she had with Job Science on the recruitment project.
“I’m looking for a vendor who will put their heart and soul into this project,” she said. “This is important to us, it deals with young adults and a good system will greatly help them. They get scholarships, and with the current system we can’t even provide them a transcript of what they’ve done at the CCC … Investing in young adults is about the best investment you can make.”
This story was originally published by
Wayne E. Hanson served as a writer and editor with e.Republic from 1989 to 2013, having worked for several business units including Government Technology magazine, the Center for Digital Government, Governing, and Digital Communities. Hanson was a juror from 1999 to 2004 with the Stockholm Challenge and Global Junior Challenge competitions in information technology and education.