Advanced Manufacturing Training Program
City of Somerville, MA
In the fall of 2015, the city of Somerville’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development convened a coalition of local employers, workforce development and social service nonprofits, and Somerville High School leadership to address the city’s growing employment skills gap. Coalition members from the employment sector noted that many high-tech employers cannot fill their well-paid machinist positions, while coalition members from Somerville High School noted that few high school student sign up for the machine shop program, preferring instead the web-based vocation training programs. Together, the coalition proposed the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program, where adults are trained as machinists in the underutilized machine shop during the after-school hours. Students gain all of the skills needed in a modern manufacturing facility, and graduate with OSHA-10 certification. Students also have the opportunity to concurrently study for their GED at the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences, one of the program partners.
Advanced Practice Paramedic
County of Wake, NC
In 2008, Wake County EMS developed a program in which specially trained Advanced Practice Paramedics (APPs) respond alongside ambulances to select EMS call types, including mental health and substance abuse crises. If no other immediate medical care requiring the emergency department is needed, the ambulance returns to service and the APP remains with the patient to coordinate transportation and direct entry into a mental health-specific treatment facility. Patients and health-care systems are better served by APPs providing the right care at the right time at lower cost, and by ambulances and emergency departments retaining capacity to address other medical emergencies. In 2009, Wake County EMS APPs began responding to calls and providing a diverse array of novel services to the system’s ambulances and hospital systems.
African Burying Ground and Memorial Park
City of Portsmouth, NH
After the unexpected discovery of a more than 300-year-old burying ground for African and African-descended people underneath a city street, the cty of Portsmouth closed and transformed the street into an evocative public gathering space to acknowledge its past and to return the site to sacred ground through the reinternment of a forgotten people. Volunteers undertook a six-year campaign to raise $1.2 million to complete the project, and in doing so, worked closely with the city to tell and retell the story of the people the project was meant to honor, engaging the community in increasing and deepening understanding of their shared history.
Agora Investment Platform
Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, OR
The Agora Investment Platform is an online collaborative technology tool designed to coordinate investments into community and economic development priorities in rural communities. The system was piloted in a bi-state region of Oregon and Washington, and has connected communities with funding spanning federal, state, and philanthropic sources. Agora utilizes a taxonomy to organize the fundamental aspects of economic development using seven key assets and their various sub-strategies. The taxonomy creates a standard listing criteria that provides a framework for communities to prioritize investment opportunities and for capital providers to search for investment opportunities.
Asian American Quality of Life Initiative
City of Austin, TX
The Asian American Quality of Life Initiative sought to evaluate the challenges faced by Austin’s growing Asian American population regarding access to services, housing, jobs, transportation, health care, and translation. Staff gathered information through formal surveys, guided conversations at community events and in existing community spaces, and by distributing 130 Conversation Over Tea kits in March and April 2016, which allowed residents to host discussions of their own among groups of family, friends, or coworkers. These kits increased participation rates among nationalities with whom the team had little contact or for whom the city could not easily provide translators. The information collected will be used to develop policy recommendations for how the city of Austin can better serve this population.
AskThem.io — City Questions & Answers
City of New York, NY
AskThem.io is a free and open-source website for public dialogue, created by the 501(c)3 non-profit Participatory Politics Foundation (PPF), and launched publicly in February 2014. The site is available to any United States elected official, and any user with a verified Twitter account is able to participate in the dialogue. Users ask and share questions, which are shared over e-mail and social media to gather signatures towards delivery. At launch, over 80 elected officials nationwide signed on to participate, and since then the platform has held nationwide question-and-answer campaigns with partners such as OpenSecrets.org, the Student Net Alliance, the Participatory Budgeting Program, and Fight for the Future. In 2014, AskThem was awarded a Knight Foundation Prototype Grant to develop free question-asking widgets for government partners and issue groups to create questions directly on their own web pages and social media accounts. The AskThem open-data model of verified local accounts was later adopted by PPF’s NYC Councilmatic, for city council legislative tracking, where community groups and local media partners come together in monthly public comment programs.
Bristol Early Childhood Alliance
City of Bristol, CT
The Bristol Early Childhood Alliance (BECA) is a network of preschool providers and community agencies that work together to help children get a healthy start in life. Established by the Bristol School Readiness Council in response to a demonstrated need to coordinate programming available for at-risk families in the Bristol community, BECA is committed to ensuring that every single child in Bristol is healthy and ready to learn by age five, and achieves developmental and school success by age nine. Grant funds were available that were initially focused on the collection of data to identify specific goals and possible solutions, which were then implemented through the creation of a tightly coordinated network of service providers. Programs focus on breaking down barriers impeding the ability of some children to obtain needed services and achieve success, and have included efforts such as screenings for post-partum depression and campaigns to reduce childhood obesity.
Cambridge Sidewalk Poetry Program
City of Cambridge, MA
Cambridge Sidewalk Poetry integrates infrastructure repair with the poetry of the people, made possible through a collaboration of citizens with government and an interdepartmental partnership of Cambridge Arts, Public Works, and the Public Library. This program is part of an effort by the city of Cambridge working towards the goal of building a more playful city, prompted by national concerns about play deficit disorder and the decline in daily open play. Residents of any age can participate in a program to bring poetry into public space, which began imprinting poems in sidewalk cement in 2015.
Central Puget Sound Forum Resiliency Project
King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, WA
The Central Puget Sound Regional Water Supply Forum represents Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and Cascade Water Alliance, plus smaller entities like the Pierce Water Cooperative, East King (County) Regional Water Association, Woodinville Water and Sewer District and the Snohomish County Public Utility District. ) In an unprecedented voluntary three county regional approach to resiliency and preparedness to ensure water supply for more than 2.3 million residents, thriving ports, and world-class medical facilities. These major utilities have come together without the impetus of crises or mandates to identify critical risks to water supply and determine resiliency and preparedness so they can provide water supply to keep this thriving region functioning following crises. The Forum, its leaders, and members identified threats to water supply reliability. And, in response, brought together technical staff from all members and across all areas of expertise to examine best practices and cutting-edge analyses to determine the impact of and mitigation needed in their areas of critical concern: earthquakes, water quality, droughts, and climate change and identify next steps for the region.
City of Port St. Lucie, FL
With a goal as defined by their strategic plan that Port St. Lucie in 2030 will be a "Safe; Beautiful; and Friendly City for All Ages,” the city council created City University, a program to familiarize residents with the structure and function of their municipal government and enable them to become more active participants in local government and better serve their community. The six-week program is run out of city hall and is guided by department heads and key city staff to ensure information exchange and engagement with the community.
City of Boston, MA
CityScore is a unique tool created by the city of Boston to provide a way to instantly understand Boston's overall health by scoring departments on individual metrics and a single, numeric indicator. CityScore displays near real-time data on operations and quality of life metrics, making the city more responsive and effective. Since CityScore's public launch in January 2016, the city has held monthly performance meetings with the mayor to address any resource or process issues highlighted by the scores, and has delivered improvements including an 18 percent increase in streetlight outage repairs completed on-time between January and March. The mayor’s office has also used CityScore to vet department allocations for the FY17 budget, including adding 10 ambulances to the city’s EMS fleet to improve emergency response. Cabinet chiefs, department heads, city employees, and the general public alike are highly engaged in the process of improving CityScore, with suggestions for additional metrics being vetted and new ones added on a frequent basis.
Community and Regional Development Program
State of North Carolina
In 2009, East Carolina University’s (ECU) Office of Innovation and Economic Development aggressively identified critical issues limiting eastern communities and creating barriers to increased vitality and competitiveness, and reached out to regional and state partners to define those issues and help frame possible responses and the role ECU could play. Data revealed that eastern communities had an immediate need for financial resources, additional capacity to acquire new resources, professional assistance with project development, and basic administrative and management support to enhance public service delivery. In 2010, ECU created the Community Enhancement and Economic Transformation Initiative in response to these findings. The initiative takes a three-tiered approach characterized by increased levels of collaboration, regional investment, and direct engagement on behalf of distressed communities. Components include the Municipal Management and Innovation initiative, the Talent Enhancement and Capacity Building program, and the ECU Outreach Network. A comprehensive menu of services and strong commitment to engage our campus in regional partnerships has made this program a national model for university-based community development.
Community Partnership on Aging
Community Partnership on Aging Council of Government, OH
Establiahsed in 1978, the Community Partnership on Aging is a cooperative effort between five cities to deliver programs and services to residents 60 and over, as well as to family caregivers. The collaboration seeks to improve lives through programs and services that support independence, community involvement, and wellbeing. The agency now employs 18 staff members, most of whom are part-time, and offers a range of nutrition programs, daily classes and activities, social work services, transportation, homemaking, home safety guidance and support, and extensive volunteer opportunities.
Connecticut eRegulations System
State of Connecticut
The Connecticut eRegulations System is an efficiently designed end-to-end electronic workflow for drafting, reviewing, and publishing agency regulations and tracking regulation-making activity. The system has increased efficiency by successfully implementing standardized drafting and editing processes, automation of approval workflows, document management, publication, and archiving for end-to-end regulation management by augmenting existing state technology and requiring minimal additional staff. At the same time, it facilitates government transparency with access to a free, online, updated version of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, permanent and real-time access to all agency regulation-making records, user-friendly search and browse, and citizen engagement tools like regulation tracking and online comment submission. Its basic architecture provides a template for consolidating management of the creation and publication of government laws and regulations which could be tailored to a wide range of varying state, legislative, or agency requirements.
DDVIP: Anti-Drinking and Driving Program
State of California
The California Office of Traffic Safety created the DDVIP program in 2012 with the desire to change the authoritative tone set by traditional anti-DUI programs by speaking to its audience as equals, and to change the perception of what it means to be a designated driver. By assembling a network of bars and restaurants throughout California and asking them to create signature non-alcoholic cocktails and creating a mobile app that allows users to find participating bars near them, the program aims to treat designated drivers like VIPs. Any designated sober driver that goes to a participating bar is offered a DDrink and other exclusive discounts as a reward for being the DDVIP, and the program has grown to include social media accounts that use a friendly, nongovernmental voice to engage users, and has forged entertainment partnerships to now offer DDVIP discounts and perks at concerts around the state.
Digital Media Transformation
County of Orange, FL
Orange County Government's digital communications plan, new online Newsroom Media Center, and companion OCFL News app improved news and information distribution to its 1.25 million citizens. Weekly editorial calendars are shared to coordinate traditional media and digital efforts, including news articles, media alerts, photos, videos and graphics for a unique, interesting and engaging Newsroom Media Center.
Public Information Officers were also tasked with distributing approved Newsroom articles to community newspapers with relevant audiences as well as sharing articles on social media, capturing constituents who otherwise would not have known about the OCFL Newsroom. Those same stories were also repurposed and presented as short video recaps titled OCFL Updates, which garnered thousands of views via YouTube. Efforts propelled Newsroom traffic to 710,000 page views – a 575 percent in 2015 – and increased social media engagement by nearly 695 percent.
This foundation helped Orange County Government share information with the community following the Pulse Nightclub tragedy on June 12, 2016, and again in early October 2016 when Category 3 Hurricane Matthew impacted Central Florida. The transformation improvements, which facilitated visits to the Pulse and Hurricane Matthew Newsroom update webpages, catapulted the Newsroom Media Center to receiving more than 1 million page views and the County’s overall website had 60 million page views in 2016.
Environmental and Spatial Technology
Harrison School District, AR
Since 2014, Harrison Junior High has offered the Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) classroom, a course designed for students to use state-of-the-art computer technology to solve "real world" problems either independently or in teams. Projects have included working with local businesses to map points in the Buffalo River using GIS technology, creating assistive devices for students with special needs to communicate with their fellow students and ease daily life in the classroom, and designing and producing through the use of 3D printing technology two prosthetic hands and a prosthetic arm for students in the district after extensive research and testing. The prostheses were produced at a fraction of their commercial cost, and students were able to build research, design, and production skills while directly impacting the lives of people in their community.
Fix California Challenge
State of California
Innovate Your State, a state non-profit, launched a project called the Fix California Challenge, a crowdsourced competition to find ways to improve the State of California. The nine-week contest generated nearly 500 ideas, over 1,300 comments, over 8,000 votes, and tens of millions of media impressions, and also won the software company IdeaScale’s “Innovation Award.” Citizens took full advantage of the open call, submitting ideas ranging from businesses to policy changes and research proposals. Through a signature “venture governance” approach, ideas were reviewed, vetted, and eventually, four ideas were selected as challenge winners receiving funding, donations, or backing from either Innovate Your State or outside investors. The challenge was such a success that it was reopened in early 2016 for ongoing submissions.
Geo 3.1: A Citizen-Centric Policing Model
City of Roanoke, VA
The Roanoke Police Department began the transition toward community-oriented policing at the end of the last century. This transition evolved over time to a department-wide philosophy that is currently supported by a revamped organizational structure emphasizing procedural justice. This move to the new organizational structure decentralized standard police services, eliminated specialty units, and encouraged officers to actively engage in multiple roles from order maintenance to community engagement and self-initiated investigations. In 2014, this restructuring culminated in the department implementing a citizen-centric policing model built on the four tenets of procedural justice: citizen voice, fairness and neutrality, dignity, and respect. Combining this policing philosophy with a major organizational change emphasizing autonomy and more lateral decision-making, the department is moving forward with greater transparency and citizen engagement.
Go Green and Clean
City of Pierre, SD
The Go Green and Clean initiative is a "Call to Community Service" and volunteerism. Go Green and Clean activities center around picking up trash on public lands, adopting energy conservation methods, recycling waste, planting trees, and other methods to conserve natural resources within the community. The program is modified annually to include more than just cleanup activities of public lands; it includes educational seminars, speaking engagements by the mayor to civic and student groups, demonstrations on gardening, recycling, and energy conservation methods promoted by the city electric department. In 2015, a business recognition program was started to recognize those businesses demonstrating Go Green practices, and after seven years of operation, over 200 volunteers from more than 35 organizations participate annually.
Green the Building
General Services Administration
Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, but rarely realize the complex systems involved in making their daily lives possible. In 2011, the federal General Services Administration launched the Sustainable Facilities Tool (SFTool) to help government agencies and the general public build, buy, and operate sustainably. Green the Building, an SFTool-hosted educational game, provides understandable and fun context to green building strategies that enlighten the novice and engage the expert. The game reaches beyond technical jargon and compliance standards, allowing users to discover actions they can take to improve sustainable building performance. It was intentionally developed using an innovative browser-based interface, rather than an app, to allow players to easily bounce between game play and the more than 150 “Learn more at SFTool.gov” links embedded throughout the game. GSA followed a phased approach in development, partnering from inception with subject matter experts, instructional designers, and game designers, then later with artists, programmers, testers, and education professionals. After defining rules of play for the turn-based, dynamic scoring game, the team developed an overarching narrative to engage players and encourage them to invite others to compete.
Growth Through Opportunity Cadet Program
City of Roanoke, VA
The Growth Through Opportunity (GTO) cadet program was launched in November 2014. The program is designed for young adults with unique challenges who need assistance gaining valuable social and career experience in a professional setting. Adults with disabilities are often placed in care facilities or with family members, but finding family members who have the ability to care for adults with disabilities can be challenging. Frequently, the need for services outweighs the programs available, placing many on a waitlist, which was the inspiration for the GTO cadet program. Adult participants spend four months volunteering at the Roanoke Police Department receiving career and life skills. Each GTO cadet is given their own uniform and can work at the department for up to 12 hours per week. Officers work with each candidate and their families to hone the volunteer experience specifically for their interests and goals, and cadets participate in this training program with the goal of transitioning into paid employment upon graduation. Cadets are also required to participate in daily physical activity. This helps teach the importance of physical fitness and healthy lifestyles, both important to the cadets as they work toward independence. Since its inception, the program has graduated 12 cadets with an additional nine scheduled to graduate in 2016. Ten of the graduates have secured paid employment, and two now live independently with daily monitoring from their social workers.
City of Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Rancho Cucamonga has undergone a paradigm shift on how local government and community members address population health through its Healthy RC initiative. Healthy RC engages and empowers residents, especially those most affected by poor health, to identify health priorities and play a meaningful role in developing and implementing solutions. The involvement of the community (residents and agencies) is organized, supported, and sustained through the HRC Steering Committee and its network of topic-focused subcommittees, the Community Champions, and HRC Youth Leaders. This is complemented by the involvement of the city government with the city manager’s office, providing leadership and fostering buy-in and expertise from a wide variety of city departments (planning, community services, economic development, engineering, and others). While the cty initially played the role of convener and facilitator to launch HRC, roles have evolved over time with the initiative being driven by community needs and supported by a responsive city government. It is this balance of residents’ and community organizations’ initiative and involvement, coupled with city support, that creates the collective impact of HRC and continues to build and sustain its culture of health.
History Hub is a support community, hosted and managed by the National Archives, for researchers, citizen historians, archival professionals, genealogists, and open government advocates. This platform, along with community managers from the National Archives, encourages the public to crowdsource research by giving them direct access to subject matter experts, and is a place to ask questions, share information, work together, and find help based on experience and interests. History Hub offers tools like discussion boards, blogs, and community pages to bring together experts and researchers interested in American history.
HIV and Me
Office of the Bronx Borough President, NY
The Bronx Borough President's Office and Jacobi Medical Center designed a model that places high school students in teaching positions at their schools and classrooms as HIV ambassadors. New York City high school students will work within an NYC hospital HIV and AIDS Clinic as administrative assistants for the first half of the school year, nine hours a week, while learning about HIV/AIDS with patients and hospital staff. Prior to completing their service learning hours, students will prepare to teach the HIV/AIDS curriculum under joint supervision of hospital staff and teachers. This curriculum, known as "HIV and Me," will be used by the students in peer education efforts. Upon completing the curriculum prep, students will teach the material back to their fellow peers in the classroom during the second half of the school year, making this a yearlong program.
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency App
District of Columbia
Washington, DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Mobile App for Apple and Android devices gives users the ability to view potentially lifesaving features from the palm of their hand. The app provides local weather, emergency alerts, help lines, and guidance on how to prepare for and respond to hazards.
Improper Payment Prevention Initiative
State of New Mexico
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions’(DWS) Improper Payment Prevention Initiative (IPPI) combined insights from predictive analytics and behavioral science in order to successfully increase honest reporting while reducing improper payments within the state’s unemployment insurance program. DWS, in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting LLP, identified the three keys reasons for improper payments: individuals not performing required work searches, not properly reporting earned income while on benefits, and incorrectly reporting separation issues from their previous employer. The predictive model was then developed based on patterns of past overpayments using predictive equations with 30–40 variables, and is combined with behavioral science and nudge techniques to work together to combat improper payments. Through the use of messages and pop-ups in key places, IPPI increased honest reporting during three critical moments in the system: the initial application, when reporting work and earnings, and while determining action plans to seek new employment.
increMental-U: small steps. Big Results
City of West Palm Beach, FL
increMental-U: small steps, Big Results energizes a city by offering creative and inspiring programs to keep citizens active and mentally fit. The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach began work on a lifelong learning program in response to the increasing influx of retirees coming from the northern states to Florida, especially to downtown West Palm Beach. The arriving retirees, combined with the large number of studies linking lifelong learning with cognitive stability, emotional resilience, psychological and mental health, made this effort an imperative. A closer look at these studies show that lifelong learning is also beneficial to individuals in the workforce since it has measurable impacts in terms of building self-esteem, adapting to change, expanding comfort zones, being forward-thinking, keeping the mind sharp, and promoting a feeling of wellbeing. Efforts then began towards creating a program that would engage all brain functions, and the formula of including academic lectures, hands on art, performances, participative workshops, panel discussions, exhibits, and a writer’s incubator called the Aspiring Author Institute was developed. All programs and materials are offered free of charge as a means to increase access.
Indian People's Own Determination
Indian People’s Own Determination provides a youth-guided wraparound approach that helps reduce stigma about children’s mental health through intergenerational teachings of the Lummi Schalengen (Way of Life). The program weaves together youth leadership development, peer-to-peer support, elders, and mental health counseling to raise a healthier generation for tomorrow through the Ist-otel (pulling together in the Lummi language) Initiative that defines of the Lummi System of Care Expansion philosophy of youth-guided, family-driven, and culturally competent care by developing and building upon clinical services through traditional and cultural practices. Since 2011, the program has seen participation from 67 young people, and approximately 55 percent are active today, each volunteering between 60–100 hours a year to community service projects. Participants learn that they must give in order to receive.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
In the wake of sweeping changes at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, from the Space Shuttle fly-out and program completion to the emerging commercial space presence, and a dynamic transformation of National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Kennedy Space Center in Florida to a multi-user spaceport, the Innovation Expo was formed. The annual grassroots-led event overcomes potential barriers to innovation by connecting disparate but likeminded members of the workforce, inspires them, and gives them the inspiration and latitude they need to make their ideas a reality. The event has grown since its inception in 2011 from a one-day Kennedy-only activity to a NASA-wide implementation where innovators from all centers share and celebrate new ideas that will enable NASA to pioneer the solar system.
Invasive Species Removal & Greedy Goats
City of Fayetteville, AR
The city work to ban invasive species and encourage native habitat began in 2013. Horticulturists, commercial nurseries, and community organizations worked together to bring forth the ordinance to prohibit the sale of specific species and establish educational campaigns such as a brochure of alternative plants and the “Greedy Goats” program, which brought a herd of goats out to public parks to clear invasive species like kudos, poison ivy, and thistle. Families with children who came out to see the animals work were recruited into the educational efforts, with the goal that their new knowledge will be taken back and incorporated into their home gardening projects, helping restore Fayetteville to its natural habit that is a welcome home to native birds and insects.
Wake County Public School System, NC
iThrive Wake is a GIS map and mobile application created by the Youth Thrive program, dedicated to resources and support for young people, who in turn crowdsource the data for the app. This collaborative maps organizations and services for the school system’s population, allowing young people and their families to find resources closest to their community by specific category. Young people trained in GIS through 4H Youth Development expand on the map by identifying new points of reference, along with supporting data about how to access each point.
Job Training Opportunity Program
City of Hillsboro, OR
Hillsboro’s Job Training Opportunity Program (JTOP) provides a unique opportunity for talented, bilingual residents to gain work experience and training that could inspire a public service career. The city hires Spanish-speaking individuals, who might not otherwise work in local government, to help deliver excellent customer service for the community. Speaking Spanish and having an interest in customer service are the two primary requirements of the program. This structure created an opportunity for the city of Hillsboro to develop a hiring process that does not focus on experience or required skills. Applicants take part in a “skills assessment” and an interview process with questions geared toward their understanding of customer service. The applicants who successfully complete the interview and demonstrate a desire to participate in the JTOP program are selected randomly for the positions. In its first three years, 18 individuals have participated in JTOP, and several program graduates have interviewed and been hired for full-time positions with the city of Hillsboro.
Justice Initiatives, Inc.
26th Judicial District of the State of North Carolina
Justice Initiatives, Inc. is a North Carolina nonprofit organization that brings together local courts and community stakeholders to support the administration of justice through innovative local civics education programs, advocacy for needed court resources, and advancement of technological improvements and services for local court users. The organization advances and supports the administration of justice through the development of much needed court functions, such as online case scheduling and online self-help forms, and grants to support programs such as childcare for court users, the drug treatment court, and training for court personnel. The program also advocates for the needs of the courts by informing legislative committees, elected officials, and the media of urgent issues facing the courts — a function that became more important in the wake of the 2008 recession and severe cuts to court funding that jeopardized many critical court programs and services.
Lava Mae Mobile Hygiene
City and County of San Francisco, CA
Lava Mae converts decommissioned, public transportation buses into mobile showers and toilets for those experiencing homelessness. When the program was first launched, there were only 16 public showers and about as many toilets for over 3,500 unsheltered men, women, and children. In the 19 months since launch, Lava Mae has delivered over 15,000 showers to more than 3,000 people. In addition to direct services, the program has also responded to thousands of requests for help and inspired similar services around the globe to replicate its efforts.
LGBT Business Builder
Small Business Administration
The SBA partnered with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the exclusive certification body for the LGBT Business Enterprise, to cosponsor a series of LGBT Business Builder education and outreach events around the country that focus on SBA programs and services and the NGLCC LGBT Business Enterprise Certification. This initiative was undertaken in response to a charge from the White House that all federal agencies move toward greater inclusion of historically disenfranchised groups, and focuses in particular real inclusion with real results, making concerted efforts to reach out to people of color, women, veterans, and the disabled within the LGBT community.
Manatee Millennial Movement
County of Manatee, FL
The Manatee Millennial Movement (M3) is an interdepartmental coalition of government employees working to speak out, address, and solve the problems that affect their generation. Membership focus is on millennial employees, whose voices are often not heard in a workforce and government that is largely made up of baby boomers. The problems present in Manatee County mirror larger trends in the nation: an aging workforce of boomers set to retire, without the influx of new employees to replace them, and a lack of affordable housing options to draw in younger workers and encourage them to settle their roots in the community. M3 is unique in that its member base starts from the county, sparking development and collaboration between departments. Its goals are far-reaching, which allows for the incorporation of private citizens and businesses all working together.
Minnesota Court Payment Center
State of Minnesota
Facing the imminent retirement of the baby-boomer generation and the significant reduction in tax revenue that would follow, coupled with a shrinking workforce, the state of Minnesota undertook efforts to implement sustainable changes to the way it offered services that would reduce the labor needs and economies of scale in order to continue to meet their constituents’ needs. In an effort to address this problem, the processing of minor criminal and parking violations was centralized across Minnesota’s 87 counties into one operation called the Minnesota Court Payment Center. There, staff process approximately 1.3 million citations and $100 million annually and provide quality customer service from their home offices located throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin, allowing customers to pay fines online, 24 hours a day, adapting to technology opportunities and changing customer expectations in the digital age.
Municipal Partnering Initiative
Village of Glenview, IL
Beginning in 2010, 18 municipalities in Illinois began working together to purchase shared services and commodities, referred to as the Municipal Partnering Initiative (MPI). Drawn from familiar concepts like the power of bulk purchasing, MPI saves tax dollars while preserving service levels and quality. The MPI is a voluntary program that functions without a memorandum of understanding, formal membership, fees, or mandatory duties. Annually the group compiles a list of communities’ needs and divides the projects based on budget and geography. Communities can participate in whatever bids meet their needs and the participating governments take turns on leading the bids. The city administrators continue to meet on an annual basis to review MPI participation to foster shared responsibility and accountability, and maintain it as a cooperative venture rather than formalize and add administrative overhead costs. The initiative has grown to over 30 local government entities participating in over 25 projects in the Lake/Cook county region and the economies of scale have translated into savings, achieving total aggregate savings of approximately $2.1 to $2.6 million for the taxpayers of the participating towns from 2011–2015.
myStafford Customer Portal
County of Stafford, VA
The myStafford Customer Portal is a forward-thinking mobile friendly e-billing, business e-filing, and payment solution for the citizens and businesses of Stafford County. It simplifies the user experience, offering online management of various accounts, bill tracking, and payment from a single convenient website, regardless of the originating office or department. Using a phased approach, utility payments was the first and most impactful service to be deployed. Launched in August 2013, the time from concept to deployment was less than five months. Additional payments types and enhancements were prioritized and introduced based on impact, availability of backend systems and resources, and seasonality of the billing periods. Real estate taxes were deployed in 2014 followed by personal property taxes and an integrated e-filing application for businesses to file fiduciary taxes online early in 2016. Planned enhancements include payment scheduling, dog license payments, and e-filing enhancements.
The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice
Department of Justice
The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, a project of the United States Department of Justice designed to improve relationships between law enforcement and communities. The project develops and implements interventions to combat implicit bias, enhance procedural justice, and a deploy a first of its kind reconciliation framework in six pilot sites around the country. Hosted by the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the initiative mobilizes a partnership comprised of the Center for Policing Equity at John Jay College, the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, and the Urban Institute to improve relationships between law enforcement and minority communities, as well as advance public and scholarly understandings of the issues contributing to those relationships. The project also focuses on issues impacting relationships between law enforcement and particularly vulnerable populations including youth, immigrants, LGBTQIA individuals, and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Over the past year and a half, the initiative has worked with police, community leaders, academics, and other experts in a range of fields to develop an actionable plan for six pilot sites that were chosen based on demonstrated ability and willingness to participate, the strongest possibility for positive treatment, and leadership and institutional readiness. Pilot projects in Birmingham, AL; Fort Worth, Texas; Gary, IN; Minneapolis, MN; Pittsburgh, PA; and Stockton, CA have included new training for police officers, original research to develop comprehensive understandings of salient issues, and the facilitation of vital conversations and partnerships between law enforcement and community members to promote trust and public safety in each city.
Norfolk101: Citizens Academy
City of Norfolk, NE
The citizens of Norfolk, Nebraska, have often felt a disconnect with the workings of the city, not fully understanding all of the different divisions and ways that the staff in those divisions support the city regarding safety, recreation, clean water, sanitation, library services, and housing. To create engagement and increase understanding of the inner workings of city government, The Norfolk101: Citizens Academy program allows citizens to have a backstage pass to the city’s programs and meet the people who make them possible. During the eight sessions of the program, citizens tour all divisions of the city of Norfolk with the opportunity to ask questions of the various division heads. People of all ages and backgrounds have gone through the program, and upon completion are telling neighbors, friends, coworkers, and relatives to participate. Graduates have demonstrated their increased engagement and understanding through more informed letters to the editor and posts on social media, and have begun participating in advisory boards within the city, with four graduates already appointed to the boards.
One Planet Program
City of Fort Collins, CO
Using tours of Fort Collins city services and projects, the One Planet program bolsters employee curiosity about how their departments function and how to increase sustainability by applying green practices, and turns employees into climate ambassadors within their departments. Begun in in 2010, a volunteer team of dedicated employees set up a series of field trips to project sites to learn from other staff, including tours of the local water treatment plant led by employees to demonstrate how the city's water is treated to exceed federal, state, and municipal standards. The program has grown since and is now embarking on its seventh year with more than 90 opportunities for educational tours, such as how power substations work, watershed monitoring programs, land restoration for storm water quality, and low impact development sites.
City of New York, NY
In January 2015, New York City’s Department of Records and Information Services, supported by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the Mayor’s Office, began the OpenRECORDS initiative to increase transparency in the city government by creating an online portal the public could use to submit and track freedom of information law (FOIL) requests to all city agencies. The centralized portal provides city agencies with a standardized, simplified platform. It ensures accountability by showing response times and making responsive documents available to the public. Using the portal, with a few simple steps, the public can submit requests, monitor progress, and easily determine whether the requested record or information is already available on the portal. FOIL officers can now process requests in a consistent fashion across all city agencies. The portal allows them to track requests to avoid duplicate requests and subsequent delays. The portal also helps direct the public to the correct agency minimizing delays due to misdirected requests, and will likely reduce the overall number of requests by allowing the public to access previously released information.
Paperless Online Absentee Ballot Applications
Commonwealth of Virginia
In 2011, the Virginia Department of Elections began laying out a vision for an online system that would enable voters to complete all voter record-related transactions, and began working to secure funding and qualified staff to make the necessary technical infrastructure changes and to secure administrative policy changes necessary to turn this vision into a reality. After the Virginia General Assembly passed a law authorizing online voter registration in 2013, Virginia launched the first phase of this new concept by introducing an online voter registration portal, enabling all voters with a Virginia DMV ID to apply to register to vote and update their registration record online. The Department was able to use the success of this initial online offering to create widespread support for additional functionality to make the voting process more efficient. In 2015, with the support of the Governor, the Department expanded the capability of its online voter registration portal so that registered voters could apply to vote absentee completely paperlessly. This additional tool allows voters to more easily exercise their rights to participate in the franchise, and streamlines processes for election administrators and voters, while ensuring the integrity of the election system by confirming the identity of absentee ballot applicants through the system’s DMV sync. The program has been immensely successful, accounting for over 60 percent of all mail absentee ballot requests sent in to local election offices during the 2016 presidential election.
PARKS and RECreate Pop up Tour
City of Eugene, OR
Seeking to move away from traditional models of civic engagement where only a few voices managed to reach elected officials, a team of four parks and recreation staff and an eye-catching Volkswagen bus-inspired trailer, called “Little Red,” popped up at community hubs throughout Eugene from May through September 2015. The spontaneous, festive, and casual atmosphere set the stage for meaningful conversations and information sharing while capturing Eugene’s authenticity and sense of place. Activation tools included a photo booth, pedal powered music, children’s activities, a chatter box recording booth to collect personal stories about meaningful parks and rec moments, and free ice cream bars donated by a local creamery. The pop-up visited 30 locations throughout Eugene at local gathering spots, retail outlets, parks, and community events at various times of the day in order to reach a broad demographic representative of the community as a whole. The team had conversations with more than 2,600 people and made visual impressions on several thousand more. The distribution of men and women spoken with was nearly equal and of those adults, close to half of them were accompanied by children. It was also important to match the live events with a similar online experience to reach an even broader audience. Whether a citizen interacted with the pop-up or visited the web and social media pages, the conversation and points of engagement were complementary.
City of Cambridge, MA
Participatory Budgeting (PB) lets Cambridge community members make real decisions about real money. After recruiting a 22-person volunteer Steering Committee in October 2014 to guide the process, the City set out to collect ideas from community members in December about how they would spend $500,000 on capital projects to improve Cambridge. The 380 ideas that were submitted ranged from public toilets and peace gardens to performing art spaces and playgrounds for adults. From January to March 2015, over 40 volunteer Budget Delegates worked in four committees to research, assess, prioritize, and develop the 380 submitted ideas into 20 final proposals for Cambridge’s first PB ballot. Budget Delegates consulted with City staff, community groups, academic experts, and residents; conducted site visits and reviewed demographic and GIS data; and evaluated ideas on need, impact, and feasibility to develop the final ballot projects. The first PB vote was held from March 22-28, 2015. Any Cambridge resident age 12 or older could vote, including students and non-US citizens, making PB a key tool to engage those who might not normally have a voice in traditional decision-making processes. In all, 2,727 Cambridge residents voted online or in person in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish in the City’s first PB process, ultimately choosing six winning projects: 100 new street trees, a public toilet in Central Square, 20 new laptops for the Community Learning Center, eight bike repair stations, over 400 bilingual books for children, and free public Wi-Fi in six outdoor locations. Based on an independent evaluation of the first process, the City altered the timeline of the second PB process, built in more support for Budget Delegates, expanded online voting, and enhanced outreach efforts. These changes contributed to a 53 percent increase in voter turnout for the second PB vote, in which 4,184 Cambridge residents participated. As of 2016, more than $700,000 in capital funds will be distributed via the third round of PB in Cambridge.
PCLS Family Resource Center
Painesville City Local School District, OH
The Family Resource Center (FRC) is a school-based family help center; a central point for families to access multiple services to minimize barriers to student academic success. Since 2012, 50 percent of all kindergartners are English as a Second Language (ESL) students, requiring intensive English language development. ESL students are also among the highest percent of students who fail to graduate, making up 40 percent of dropouts. The district faces many challenges educating such a culturally and linguistically diverse population, first and foremost recognizing that all children need a basic level of overall physical and emotional wellness to engage in and benefit from academic tasks. The center provides a single point of contact to assess family needs including language development, poor nutrition, homelessness, mental illness, exposure to trauma, financial difficulties, and negative peer influences. FRC activities are driven by its Site Coordinator, a dedicated, full-time, bilingual staff member whose flexible schedule allows them to meet with students and families, assess their needs, and provide services throughout the day and evenings. Assessments and referrals are based on student achievement, grades, absences, disciplinary referrals, and/or teacher referrals. Staff identify students who are at risk for under-performance or dropping out, and links families to partner services for homelessness, family trauma, and medical and mental health issues. At the heart of the center is that all children, regardless of ethnicity, income or disability, can achieve academic, economic, and social success. By reducing or eliminating academic barriers for families, the FRC's expected outcomes are increased family engagement and involvement leading to a host of improved outcomes for children including improved language and kindergarten readiness skills, and improved attendance, behavior and grades.
People Helping People
City of Dallas, TX
The city of Dallas’ People Helping People Program provides minor, exterior home repair solutions through case management and volunteer services provided at no cost to low-income homeowners. The program serves elderly and disabled homeowners throughout the city, and to any age homeowner residing in designated areas of the city. Staff conduct needs assessments to determine homeowners’ eligibility for assistance, develop initial cost estimates for making repairs, and coordinate scheduling to link volunteers with selected projects. Once work is begun, staff monitor work-site activities to insure repairs are completed appropriately and timely, and to insure appropriate site clean-up is conducted upon completion of repairs. Where identified during the needs assessment and evaluation, staff may refer homeowners to various health and human services agencies to address other needs, whether or not repair assistance is approved. Additionally, they may be referred to other programs for home repairs beyond the program’s capacity. The city provides up to $5,000 per home project for materials and supplies, and approximately 3,500 volunteers dedicate their time and efforts to making their community better for all residents.
Performance Management Academy
State of Colorado
Colorado’s Performance Management Academy prepares top state government leaders to implement quantifiably higher quality strategic plans that drive better outcomes for citizens. The custom-built academy provides low-cost, best practice-based adult learning that drives impact on a tremendous scale, by improving how employees work at every department. The program was designed with the support of external consultants, and typically featured external trainers, receiving generally positive feedback, but with critical commentary focused on the structure, trainers, and focus of the program. Subsequent academy classes were modified based on direct customer input, and have achieved significant success. The key changes included anchoring the curriculum around the core objective to help leaders build and implement high quality performance plans; expanding the audience to include leaders who both build and implement the plans; featuring more internal, state-employed trainers to provide practical and ground-tested guidance and boost connectivity with the class (and reduce cost); incorporating more practical frameworks, concepts and tools (e.g., logic tree); and helping attendees address their real world problems in the class or during homework. The impact of these improvements has been significant: participant feedback demonstrated 79 percent comfort with performance management concepts and tools after the second academy, and 82 percent after the third. The second academy achieved a 93 percent customer satisfaction rating (96 percent for the third academy) and 96 percent of attendees would recommend the academy to a colleague (100 percent for the third academy).
Pie With a Side of Property Taxes
County of Anoka, MN
Property taxes provide the bulk of funding for state and local government services, yet the complicated formula and dry nature of the topic mean few understand how property taxes are determined. Anoka County's Property Taxes 101 online public video makes a complicated and boring subject clever and easy to understand. Focusing on the two core factors of decisions made by governing bodies, and the value of a property and properties around it, program staff were able to create a video that uses a simple pumpkin pie to demonstrate how someone's "slice" of the overall property tax levy can change in size based on the number of slices being extracted from the pie, and also the value attributed to a slice. Since launch, Anoka County has made this video available to local schools, and any other local government that would like it as an educational tool. It has also been used by the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) and promoted to AMC's 87 member counties as an educational tool for their citizens.
Predictive Food Inspections
City of Chicago, IL
Chicago developed a predictive model that forecasts which restaurants are the most high-risk for critical violations, and then allocates food inspectors accordingly, reducing the public’s exposure to potential food poisoning in the process. Following a pilot launch that demonstrated a 26 percent increase in efficiency from inspection teams using the model, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) began incorporating the forecasting model into their operations. Chicago’s data science team also built an application for the model that provides a complete list of predictions, with the riskiest establishments listed first. For DPH’s ease-of-use, the application is also easily navigable, allowing for specific restaurants to be referenced by the food inspection manager to triage complaints as needed. Today, the analytical model is updated daily, and the food inspection team now continually allocates its workers based on the suggestions made through the application. The model itself is built using Chicago’s open data portal and it is entirely available for replication in other cities, or for collaboration with researchers.
Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership
County of Oakland, MI
In response to increased opioid usage in Oakland County, the Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership (OCPDAP) was convened March 2015 by the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD), comprised of multidisciplinary members who actively work to prevent prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths. Partnership members include local physicians, pharmacists, substance abuse treatment and prevention agencies, court judges, law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, public health, academia, and grassroots organizations. An awareness campaign was implemented to educate the 1.2 million residents in Oakland County and those who work and play in the county about monitoring, educating, disposing, and securing prescription drugs. Transit advertising on SMART buses was initially run in October 2014 and again from August 2015 through October 2015, coinciding with the evidence-based SCOPE of Pain training from Boston University’s School of Medicine on October 3, 2016, and with National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Planning for the SCOPE of Pain training began in early 2015 and targeted all health-care professionals who prescribed opioids, as well as medical students and dentists.
OCPDAP is led with in-kind resources from OCHD staff, including a director, administrator, health education supervisor, and a health educator. Staff time includes planning and implementation of trainings, meetings and events, correspondence, coordination of promotional campaigns and subcommittees, and research. OCPDAP’s achievements include creating and sustaining a diverse partnership, implementing a Drug Death Review Committee with Oakland County’s Medical Examiner, providing the SCOPE of Pain training to 130 physicians, reaching over 300,000 residents via transit advertising, and establishing three subcommittees.
Re-fashioNYC and E-CycleNYC
City of New York, NY
Two elements of the New York City waste stream that are relatively small and difficult to capture successfully using traditional collection methods are textiles and electronic waste. In the city, textiles (linens, towels, blankets, curtains, clothing and other apparel) comprise approximately 6 percent of the overall waste stream, or about 200,000 tons per year. Electronic waste, comprising about 1% of the waste stream, is the fastest growing type of household hazardous material being discarded. For successful capture (marketing post-collection for reuse or recycling), both categories require the collection of the items intact and uncontaminated. Standard waste collection methods use compacting trucks for both refuse and recycling, which do not easily allow for successful capture and recycling of either textiles or electronic waste. Over the last 25 years, the Department of Sanitation has tested a number of ways to capture textile and electronics, from direct collection curbside in clear bags in the same trucks as mixed paper recycling, to neighborhood textile and ewaste drop-off events in partnership with not-for-profit charitable organizations. Re-fashionNYC and E-CycleNYC programs were created as public-private initiatives that provide apartment buildings with textile and ewaste collection service to residents with little or no public funding needed.
Return to Community
State of Minnesota
Annually in Minnesota, 70 percent of those who are admitted to a nursing home for rehabilitation leave within 30 days and do not become long-term residents. The remaining 30 percent end up staying for a variety of reasons and spend their savings on care that could be better preserved for helping them remain at home. Based on an analysis by researchers who determined that data could identify people who fit a target profile that should have left the nursing home when compared to the status of peers, Return to Community was passed into state law in 2009 and was implemented in 2010 by the Minnesota Board on Aging and Department of Human Services. It uses known successful interventions including evidence-based strategies of follow-up and caregiver supports to help seniors successfully discharge. The design was developed in partnership with industry and policy staff, and business process models were developed over a two-day consensus-oriented discussion with the stakeholders. The service starts by generating a list of targeted candidates; subsequently, calls are made and permissions are given, assessments completed and discharge plans confirmed with services being arranged for patients. Senior Linkage Line Community Living Specialists support the entire process, including a five-year follow up period for each patient upon their return home. Required in-person visits with each consumer on the target list began in April 2014 to enhance compliance with the Olmstead decision and ensuring consumers were given ample opportunity to hear about the possibility of discharge.
San Francisco Pit Stop
City and County of San Francisco, CA
San Francisco’s Pit Stop program offers people public toilets where they are needed most, resulting in cleaner streets and allowing people to relieve themselves with dignity. What makes this program different — and data shows successful — is that Pit Stops are staffed, ensuring that the bathrooms are kept safe and clean. The program began as a pilot in 2014 with three locations in the Tenderloin, one of the most challenging neighborhoods in San Francisco located adjacent to the tony Union Square shopping area. There, the portable facilities are brought onto the curbside sites every day after overnight servicing. In April 2015, Public Works began expanding the Pit Stop program, one neighborhood at a time. In addition to portable toilets, the Pit Stops now also include the fixed-in-place, self-cleaning JCDecaux public toilets. Previously, those toilets were underused and havens for illegal activity, including drug use, drug dealing, and prostitution. With the added Pit Stop staffing, appropriate usage has soared, and people feel safe using them. Today, Public Works operates Pit Stops at 17 locations in eight neighborhoods, with a collective 25,000-plus uses a month.
Columbus Consolidated Government, GA
The Columbus Save-A-Pet Program was initiated in 2011 by the city's mayor to challenge staff to overcome the problem of high euthanasia rates and to save lives. The eight components of the improved program are the volunteer program, adoption program, work with rescue groups, medical and behavior programs, high volume/low cost spay/neuter program, pet retention, and proper care and environment. Staff also adopted the philosophy and slogan that animal control is a community problem that requires a community solution. As a result, live release rates have gone from 21 percent in 2010 to 79 percent in 2016, a 376 percent increase.
Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, CT
As the cost of going solar steadily declines, Connecticut’s lowest-income households continue to be locked out of the market for renewable energy. The Solarize State-Sponsored Housing Program (SSHP) program is attempting to change that by lowering barriers to affordable financing and industry expertise. Connecticut has the highest cost of electricity in the contiguous United States, and while escalating energy costs impact the residential sector as a whole, the state's lowest-income residents are disproportionately burdened. According to a 2015 study conducted by Connecticut-based nonprofit Operation Fuel, energy costs for these households range from 19 to 37 percent of income; "affordable" energy costs are defined as comprising of about six percent of a household's income. Not surprisingly, energy efficiency was ranked in a recent survey of Connecticut renters as the most important quality of housing, ahead even of affordability. Through a partnership with the state’s energy finance agency Connecticut Green Bank, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority created Solarize SSHP as a way to allow SSHP portfolio owners to reinvest in their properties while lowering the cost of energy for them and their residents. Under Solarize SSHP, owners of participating properties lock in below-market electricity rates for up to 20 years, protecting the property and its residents against potential rate hikes. In many communities, where these properties can represent housing of last resort, this will have a substantial impact on quality of life.
Statewide Lean and IT Policy
State of Connecticut
Connecticut’s LeanCT program and IT Capital Investment Program collaborate to ensure that a business process is as efficient as possible before applying technology to it. In 2011, Connecticut’s legislature passed a law requiring the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to develop an Information Technology Policy Bureau, to work with state agencies to establish plans and guidelines pertaining to the development, implementation, and use of the state’s information and telecommunications systems. That same year, the legislature also passed a law requiring OPM to, within available funds, contract for consulting services to apply Lean practices and principles to state agency processes. In response to these statutory changes, OPM hired a director of IT policy and a program director of (what is now called) LeanCT. By 2013, both programs recognized the need and the opportunity to collaborate. When staff would apply Lean principles and tools to analyze a problem, they would often recommend that technology be used to help solve it. When an agency would apply to OPM for IT Capital Investment Program funding, the agency would often overlook the opportunity to improve the process first or to work with other agencies that had a similar IT need. As soon as those pieces of information were connected, OPM recognized the opportunity to educate and support state staff in adopting continuous improvement techniques to the processes they manage, before implementing a technology solution. It is now a requirement for any agency applying for IT Capital Investment Program funding to first remove the waste from the process before their request will be considered. If the agency applies for funding and has not improved their process, the LeanCT program will assist the agency in completing that task. In some cases, after removing waste from a process, a much simpler solution is all that is needed. Through this unique model, agencies may apply for bond funding for a technology solution, but must first demonstrate that the relevant processes are waste-free.
Brevard School District, FL
Brevard's STEAM-themed magnet schools focus on the engineering design process in every subject through magnet best practices, and anchor the engineering design process through innovation, creation and design, as well as explicit arts. Curriculum, technology, and equipment provide students with opportunities to design objects, 3-D print, build and engineer things in maker spaces, test items on the international space station through a NASA Hunch partnership, fly simulators, and much more. With the growth of the maker movement over the last three years, the four schools have changed course slightly by partnering with industry experts in burgeoning fields in the tinker movement, fab lab, and design spaces. The schools report to the US Department of Education twice per year from 2013–2016, and have recruited over 800 students for the 2016–17 school year. In 2017, Brevard is slated to open four new STEAM-themed magnet schools by using ideas from partners across the country who are blazing trails in these STEAM fields.
The Summer Financial Literacy Work Experience
Clerk & Comptroller, Palm Beach County, FL
The Summer Financial Literacy Work Experience provides students with exposure to the world of public and personal finance, public service, and job readiness. Students receive an overview of the county clerk and comptroller’s office and hands-on experiences in government finance, personal finances, professional development, information technology, and the justice system. The finance, communications, court operations, information technology, and human resources departments collaborate to coordinate tours and workshops through all clerk office divisions, allowing students to experience various department functions while creating awareness for the critical role finance plays throughout the organization. Students work collectively for portions of the program before breaking into small groups, or “Pods,” for more granular experiences. Each Pod rotates through the finance department, gaining hands-on training, understanding and perspective of the different types of jobs in the financial field. Student recruitment begins in March, and by May the itinerary is set and students are notified of acceptance to the program. The program runs for 12 business days. At the conclusion, students receive 72 credits towards community service hours as well as transferrable knowledge and skills concerning finance and the public sector.
Texas Master Naturalist Program
State of Texas
The Texas Master Naturalist (TMN) program, initiated statewide by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, develops corps of ‘master volunteers’ who provide education, outreach, and service dedicated toward the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas. With over 400 local, state and national partners, the TMN program continues to result in a unique master volunteer organization. Volunteers gain the Texas Master Naturalist designation after completing a 40-hour training series of combined field and classroom instruction, engaging in 8 hours of approved advanced training, and providing at least 40 hours of volunteer service in their local communities. Volunteers maintain their certification by completing an additional 40 hours of service and 8 hours of advanced training annually. The most common volunteer activities include: public education programs, wildscape development and demonstrations, citizen science, species inventories, habitat management projects, and assistance in agency research studies. Since 1998, the program has grown from 4 chapters and 150 volunteers to 46 chapters and over 10,400 volunteers. Today the program serves a multitude of diverse Texas communities with additional expansion taking place continually. Program volunteers have provided over 3.2 million hours of service valued at more than $75 million given back to the state since its inception. This service has resulted in 221,200 acres of enhanced wildlife and native plant habitats, reaching over 2.5 million youth, adults and private landowners through overwhelmingly positive conservation education programs, and restored wildlife and habitat conservation initiatives in the minds of the public in Texas.
City of New York, NY
Town+Gown is a systemic action research program founded in 2008 that facilitates partnerships between academics and practitioners on research projects aimed at making changes to practices and policies related to the built environment. There are two components: the experiential learning program and funded research. Research projects completed each academic year are abstracted in Building Ideas, Town+Gown’s annual review document, which disseminates research results and provides a foundation for the symposium events. The Research Agenda is a key tool to move the systemic action program along through the academic year cycles. The program continually works with participants to update the Research Agenda to reflect built environment trends in academic thought and research as well as in practice. All are welcome to suggest new research questions, which is a shared built environment resource. The questions are expressed broadly, providing umbrella research concepts from which schools and practitioner partners can work together to craft more defined projects. Town+Gown disseminates research results and fosters ongoing discussions. Before each symposium event, summary documents are made available to provide background and context for the conversation. After several action research cycles, Town+Gown has generated several ongoing action learning sets, which consist of related projects and symposia event discussions and the potential to use results of research produced. The program has published four annual editions of "Building Ideas," has held over 20 symposia, and has facilitated approximately 30 research partnerships between academic partners and municipal agencies since 2008. In 2014 and 2015, symposia were held on modernization of NY's built environment laws, the potential of building information modeling, road pricing and green infrastructure, service design, and equity. Topics explored on our Research Agenda include the relationship of variance in public construction practices to cost and schedule,the impact of politics on project costs and execution, the role of service design to public architecture and infrastructure projects, workforce needs and sources of construction professionals and skilled workers, and evaluation of contractor capacity to undertake public projects.
TreesCount!2015 Street Tree Census
City of New York, NY
TreesCount!2015 engaged over 2,200 volunteers in a citizen science project to create a spatially accurate digital inventory of all New York City street trees. Data is collected using an innovative method that combines site-surveying methods with geospatial technology to derive the location of street trees with a high degree of accuracy. The user-centric mapping method was developed by a local nonprofit, TreeKIT, in combination with a web platform application created by Azavea. In addition to supporting volunteer data collection, TreesCount! also provides an online training module, event registration and management, and provides live metrics and a progress map on the status of the data collection. This application illustrates how citizen science can support the collection of high quality spatial data for municipal urban forest management as well as short-term and long-term citizen engagement. The complete dataset has been given back to the public as open data, and was also uploaded into an operational database for daily municipal use where it will be constantly updated and visible to the public through an interactive tree map.
UNC Learning Technology Commons
University of North Carolina
Technology is democratizing education, and innovations in learning technology, including adaptive learning, blended classrooms, and improved collaboration and communication tools are improving outcomes and closing achievement gaps. Learning technologies have improved the accessibility of education by lowering the financial barriers, fostering global knowledge sharing, and enabling data-driven classroom decisions. Technology is crucial to achieving the mission of nearly every educational institution. To address these challenges, the University of North Carolina (UNC) designed the UNC Learning Technology Commons, in partnership with faculty, university purchasing and IT staff, and education tech providers. Providers agree to a standard set of terms and conditions, comply with relevant law and regulations, and spell out how much their products cost at different volumes. Free and open source programs are also welcome. No money changes hands immediately with vendors selected to participate. Instead, faculty and staff from the 17 UNC constituent institutions access the Commons to identify tools appropriate for their needs and expedite purchasing for their classroom or department. This shortens the cycles of discovery and purchasing for new learning technologies and speeds their diffusion. In the Commons, instructors can ask questions of one another, share the tools they use and their experiences with them, and learn from the insights of colleagues.
Wake County Yelp Initiative
County of Wake, NC
While Wake County regularly conducts sanitation inspections at more than 2,600 restaurants and posts the information to the county’s website, county employees recognized that not many people think to visit government websites for restaurant information. In order to ensure that public health data is reaching as many community members as possible, county health officials partnered with Yelp, the most prominent online guide for places to eat, to share inspection results information. Wake County automatically pushes its sanitation scores daily to Yelp so visitors will see a restaurant’s inspection score next to its customer reviews. Clicking through the scores also provides users with a high-level summary of the infractions in an easy-to-understand summary. This helps to serve people of the community and visitors in a broader way. Through an interface developed by Wake County staff, a query of the Wake County database of health inspection scores and data dynamically updates the county data in the Yelp system. This partnership also resulted in the development of the Local Inspector Value-entry Specification (LIVES) data standard to ensure uniformity of health inspection scores across all jurisdictions, nationwide. It is now being used for all new similar projects as other municipalities add their data to the Yelp database. There were no direct costs associated with this project, only a small amount of staff hours to establish the data connection and ensure that the information was consistent with Yelp’s friendly tone.
Washington Legislative Youth Advisory Council
State of Washington
The Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) provides a direct route for young people to advocate for themselves and their communities and promote positive policy changes. LYAC is distinctive in that it supplies quality civic engagement education and effectively works to enfranchise youth voice in the creation of legislation. Before 2005, there was no official, practical way for the opinions of young people in Washington State to be heard by state policymakers, and youth representation and participation in the state political system was in a state of decline; a statewide conduit for youth voice was both promising and vital. LYAC was initially proposed by 11-year-old Alex Jonlin, who envisioned a “bureau of children’s opinions” to finally incorporate youth into discussions of major youth policy. Alex worked with his state senator to create an organization founded on authentic youth engagement and involvement. Soon, LYAC was officially established with the passage of Senate Bill 5254 in 2005, creating the first state program for youth to make significant, lasting policy changes. The structure of LYAC was based partially on the preexisting youth advisory council in Maine, but incorporated new organizational frameworks, drawing heavily on systems-thinking models and operating as a youth-adult partnership. Consistent with LYAC’s youth voice focus, the 22 members themselves determined the methodology, bylaws, and organizational philosophy for the council. In 2007, the legislature recognized LYAC’s importance by removing the program’s sunset clause and by fully funding LYAC. This allowed LYAC members to expand the scope of the program by holding the first annual youth Action Day in 2008. Action Day is one of the largest youth events in the state, where hundreds of youth from across the state meet at the capitol to hear from state officials, learn from workshops, and apply their acquired skills immediately by joining LYAC members during lobbying meetings with legislators. LYAC has been instrumental in the passage of many significant pieces of youth-related legislation, including bills about dropout prevention, substance abuse in young people, mental health services in schools, criminal sentences for minors, and college access and affordability for undocumented students.
Wyoming Medication Donation Program
State of Wyoming
The Wyoming Medication Donation Program (WMDP) improves prescription access for low-income patients (up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level) who lack adequate prescription coverage by re-dispensing donated medications, reducing waste and providing a comprehensive statewide network for drug donation. The Drug Donation Program Act was passed in 2005 and allows donation of in-date, unused medications in sealed packaging (excluding controlled substance and refrigerated drugs). The WMDP provides a statewide system for collecting medication donations, accepting referrals, re-dispensing medications, and mailing prescriptions. Qualified sites, including public health offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and charitable health clinics, registered with the program to collect donations. Reusable totes were provided for donation collection and shipment through the Wyoming Department of Health public health courier service free of charge to the collection site. This removed the cost barrier for participation and medications poured in. Since 2008, over 77,000 pounds of donations were processed, and there are currently 28 sites, covering 91 percent of Wyoming’s counties. The WMDP provides training, support, and shipment coordination for the sites.