By Doug Robinson
The state government information technology, or IT, landscape continues to evolve and respond to significant changes reflecting demands of citizens, evolving business models, emerging technologies and the faster paced, more complex environment faced by state chief information officers. Based on recent surveys and data from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, or NASCIO, state CIOs face several “forces of change” that require state IT leaders to adapt, evolve and respond to new demands and opportunities.
by Kelly Samson-Rickert
Building a stronger workforce is a challenge for any state, but building and recruiting a workforce prepared to tackle a state’s information technology needs is a particularly complex challenge. In an effort to do just that, the Maine Office of Information Technology, or OIT, has developed a workforce development program—an effort to ensure that the state is equipped to provide the latest in information technology services not only today, but in the future as well.
State leaders across the country are focused on preparing their workforce for the new digital economy. Meeting the employer demand for workers with digital literacy and skills is the key to successful state workforce development plans. When Congress updated the Workforce Investment Act in 2014 through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, an emphasis on digital literacy was made a requirement of state workforce development plans. States now must include a focus on enhancing digital literacy skills for workforce participants.
The Zika epidemic has received extensive international attention since the current outbreak was first confirmed in Brazil in May 2015. Since then, active Zika transmissions have been documented in more than 30 countries across much of the Americas region, with the number of confirmed infections expected to grow in the months ahead. Leading health officials have warned that large swathes of the United States, particularly across much of the South, will be at risk of localized Zika outbreaks as temperatures rise through the summer.
Some progress has been made to narrow the digital divide among the households and classrooms of urban and rural America. More people have access to the internet today than five or 10 years ago. School students and library patrons now have access to broadband that wasn’t there just a few years ago, and more people now have access to the internet through their smartphones. While this progress should be celebrated, there is much yet to do to ensure that access to broadband services reaches all corners of this nation.
The chaos that unfolded with the 2000 presidential election transformed election administration in the United States. Most jurisdictions used federal money to purchase new voting machines, and guidelines were created to make the voting process more reliable. But that was almost 16 years ago. Technology has advanced, and the machines purchased at that time continue to age. State and local governments across the country are trying to figure out how to get new equipment with little money.
A group of The Council of State Governments’ members recently visited the headquarters of CSG Associate member Esri, an international Geographic Information System, or GIS, software company, in Redlands, Calif., to discuss how to use data and apps to make better policy decisions in their states.
It has been called the sharing economy, the peer-to-peer economy, the app-based economy, the gig economy. New platforms and businesses such as Uber and Airbnb allow individuals to make use of underutilized resources such as their cars and homes, keep their own hours, and pocket the earnings. But with these new platforms have come fundamental concerns about the changing nature of work that expose thorny questions not only for workers, consumers and the businesses themselves but for government at all levels, as well.
California Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon chairs the state’s Select Committee on Youth and California’s Future and is a founding member and co-chair of the Legislative Technology and Innovation Caucus. He believes technology is a key driver for economic development efforts, and the state can help build the technology infrastructure and ensure the future workforce is well equipped for the jobs of tomorrow.
The job market is gaining ground again after a slow recovery from the Great Recession. The bulk of these new jobs are “good jobs”—high-paying positions the majority of which are full-time, and provide benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans, according to a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.