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Remote and Hybrid Work Drive Equity in Alaska Workforce

At the NASCIO Midyear Conference, Alaska CIO Bill Smith talked about how the push to hybrid work in the past two years has allowed new voices to join the government workforce from the large state’s more rural areas.

Alaska CIO Bill Smith
Government Technology/David Kidd
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. — We’ve heard a lot over the past two years about the ways in which the shift to remote work and school really exposed the digital divide. Those who could easily connect to high-speed Internet have generally fared better since early 2020 than those who could not.

What has been less discussed, however, are ways remote work has improved digital equity.

At the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) annual conference Monday, Alaska CIO Bill Smith talked about how remote work has advanced digital equity goals for the state workforce. People who live in farther-flung regions of the large state were previously excluded from state government work because it meant relocating to more populous areas.

Now, Smith said, that’s changing, and Alaska is able to recruit from a wider pool of talent and add more diverse voices to its staff. While the state is just beginning to feel the real impact of that shift, he explained, “We’ve got the enduring tools now to start to see that on a larger scale.”

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.
Noelle Knell has been the editor of Government Technology magazine for e.Republic since 2015. She has more than two decades of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.