Friday, September 28, 2012

Harvard's Ash Center Announces 111 Bright Ideas in Government

On September 25, 2012 the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University recognized 111 innovative government initiatives as Bright Ideas. This year’s cohort hails from all levels of government—including school districts, county, city, state, and federal agencies as well as public-private partnerships—and demonstrates a creative range of solutions to issues such as urban and rural degradation, environmental problems, and the academic achievement of students. Programs were evaluated and selected by a team of policy experts from academic and public sectors.

“Government innovation does not require endless resources and generous budgets,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center. “As exemplified by this year’s Bright Ideas, some of our country’s smartest innovations can in fact reduce government’s size while serving our citizens more efficiently and effectively.” 

This is the third cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program. Applications are accepted year round for consideration as a Bright Idea; programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching and have sufficient operational resources. In addition, programs must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions. Read more about this cohort of Bright Ideas here
Environmental Protection & Conservation
Both Maryland and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, have created innovative programs to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland’s BayStat identifies and tracks farming, public land filtering, and waste water goals to restore the Bay, while Lancaster’s Restoration with Green Infrastructure has found cost effective solutions for curbing storm water runoff from emptying into the Bay. Indianapolis’ Clean Water Initiative and Edmonston’s Green Street have also addressed storm water challenges: through innovative engineering solutions, Indianapolis will prevent 3.5 million gallons of sewage from polluting waterways, and Edmonston has employed natural water filters during storms and dramatically reduced localized flooding. Other Bright Ideas protect local resources: Massachusetts’ MassGrown & Fresher connects consumers to local agriculture, Hawaii’s Maui Nui Seabird Colony Champions engages community in the protection of endangered seabird colonies, and Arizona’s HabiMap and Wildlife Overpass uses GPS mapping technologies to prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions.
Clean Water Initiative
City of Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis applied value-engineering techniques to its storm water systems in an effort to find cost savings while speeding up efforts to clean the city’s water. As a result, Indianapolis will prevent 3.5 million gallons of sewage from polluting local waterways, while saving residents upwards of $1 billion. Indianapolis also made significant upgrades to the city’s crumbling roads, bridges, and sidewalks while incorporating sustainable technologies. Full implementation will entail creating economic development opportunities along Indianapolis’ waterways.
Combined Sewer Overflow Control Technology
City of South Bend, IN
In order to meet federal environmental mandates on combined storm and sanitary sewer overflows, South Bend installed real-time monitoring and control “smart valves” technology. The program uses distributed sensing and control logic which optimizes performance of infrastructure already in place, saving the city an estimated $114 million over a conventional approach.
Clean Energy Works Portland
City of Portland, OR
Because a major barrier to retrofitting existing buildings is the up-front cost of improvements, Portland launched Clean Energy Works Portland, a pilot program that has created quality jobs through an integrated home energy remodeling process. The initiative provides a personal energy advisor, certified contractors, and simple financing that is repaid on the homeowner’s energy bill. 
Chesapeake Bay Restoration With Green Infrastructure
City of Lancaster, PA
Heavy wet weather events have overwhelmed Lancaster’s combined sewer system: untreated storm water has overflowed into rivers and over one billion gallons of polluted water have emptied into the Chesapeake Bay. The city’s Green Infrastructure Plan reduces storm water runoff and mitigates the negative impact of combined sewer overflows in a cost-effective way.

Preventing Crime Before It Happens & Reintegrating Offenders
A number of Bright Ideas use advanced technologies to proactively prevent crime and improve emergency response. Both Auburn, Alabama’s Collective Knowledge for Better Public Safety and Illinois’ Private Sector Integration Project consolidate data from disparate sources to provide a more accurate picture of daily and emergency operations and improve performance among responders. Baltimore County’s Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety and Pennsylvania’s Payment Score move beyond data consolidation to employ predictive data analytics: Baltimore uses data to determine hot spots in high crime and traffic incidents to deploy high visibility officers in those areas and curb future crime, while Pennsylvania analyzes data to identify non-custodial parents not likely to pay child support and offer them increased support. 

Other recognized programs help former criminal offenders to successfully reintegrate into their communities. Newark, New Jersey’s Office of Reentry helps individuals find work and reunite with their families, and Kentucky’s Reentry Hotline delivers similar customized support via its 24-hour toll free support line. Suffolk County’s Community Reentry for Women teaches gender-specific life skills to help female offenders rejoin their communities, while Oklahoma City’s SHINE involves former offenders in community service and neighborhood beautification projects.

Economic Development
Several Bright Ideas have created innovative programming to revitalize areas debilitated by blight, foreclosures, and abandoned properties. New Orleans’ BlightStat is a tool that measures and tracks city performance towards Mayor Landrieu’s goal of reducing the number of decaying, abandoned properties by 10,000 in 2014. Project Green House in Flint, Michigan, recycles upwards of 95 percent of abandoned home building materials, while the U.S. Department of Treasury’s New Markets Tax Credit Program offers tax credits to encourage new economic and community development in distressed areas. 

Other programs focus on job development and small business growth. Each year, Johnson County, Kansas’ GovFest for Entrepreneurs convenes nearly 60 government agencies at all levels to showcase opportunities for collaboration, networking, and help in starting businesses, while San Clemente, California’s Business Liaison/Facilitator Program offers entrepreneurs individualized support related to licenses, permits, and grants. In addition to small business support, several Bright Ideas address employment such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ MyCareer@VA, an online career development program for veterans to develop a career path and find employment. Washington, D.C.’s One City, One Hire links unemployed residents with local employers, while both Milwaukee County’s Summer Youth Employment Program and Wisconsin’s Youth Workforce Development Program teach job training skills to economically disadvantaged, urban youth.
Energizing our Nation’s Students
Several Bright Ideas focus on reinvigorating school curricula and encouraging interest in science and mathematics. NASA’s Explorer Schools provides teachers with interactive lesson plans and classroom activities around math, science, technology, and engineering, and Stark County, Ohio’s Science and Math Moving On program provides its 17 school districts with the latest in 21st century, high-tech learning tools to invigorate traditional lesson plans and enhance learning among students. Other programs move beyond traditional curricula: Nancy’s Garden in Montana teaches elementary students the science of growing food; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania’s Music Festival Fund provides vulnerable children life-enriching art opportunities; and Chesterfield County, Virginia’s Build a House Program teaches technical students how to build homes for people with intellectual disabilities. 

Real-Time Data and Transparency
Still other Bright Ideas demonstrate more efficient and effective delivery of government services. Through Washington, D.C.’s Track D.C., citizens can access real-time information about city agency performance, budgets, and spending while San Francisco’s Property Information Map offers an easy-to-use portal of real-time data on available properties, as well as information on zoning, permits, and previous sales prices. Programs like Washington’s Connection Benefit Portal and St. Louis, Missouri’s Special Needs Registry share this same model of real-time data in one, easy-to-use portal: the Special Needs Registry provides city agencies up-to-date information about special needs residents so that they can be quickly served during emergencies, and the Connection Benefit Portal allows low-income families easy access to information on available benefits and services.
2012 Bright Ideas
Accelerated Payments
United States Department of Defense
Accelerated Payments is a cash flow initiative that seeks to modernize the United States’ small business industrial base and re-invigorate industrial commons. This policy-driven program established by the Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Small Business has led to job creation, the modernization of DOD’s small business industrial base, the development of new products, and restoration of applied research activity.
Affordable Downtown Wi-Fi
City of Newton, NC
To attract more customers to the downtown business district, support small businesses, encourage the use of public parks and facilities, and enable more citizens to access city services online, the city of Newton has developed a free, outdoor Wi-Fi network in the downtown business district, city facilities, and parks.
All Dads Matter
Merced County, CA
All Dads Matter grew out of the strong belief that a father’s involvement with his child makes a tremendous difference in how that child grows, develops, and seizes opportunities in life. Men teach men the skills of being great fathers, regardless of poverty, unemployment, broken relationships, regrets about the past, or fears about the future.
Animal Euthanasia Reductions
Lee County, FL
Due to poor economic conditions, including a high rate of home foreclosures and job loss by residents, Lee County Domestic Animal Services experienced a dramatic increase in shelter animal intake. In order to reduce pet overpopulation, animal shelter intake, taxpayer expenses, and euthanasia, the agency implemented several initiatives to provide services to keep pets in loving homes rather than be surrendered to overcrowded shelters with limited capacity.
State of Maryland
The Chesapeake Bay’s wildlife habitat, seafood, and recreation activities have suffered decline due to population growth and environmental irresponsibility. BayStat, a cross-agency collaboration to restore the health of the Bay, uses evidence-based research to identify and implement better farming practices, improved wastewater treatment, and natural filtering on public lands.
Blight Reduction Strategy
City of New Orleans, LA
With well over 50,000 vacant and dilapidated properties, New Orleans suffers from one of the largest blight problems in America. The city’s Blight Reduction Strategy aims to significantly reduce blighted properties by prioritizing code lien foreclosure sales. Its BlightStat public performance management system aggressively manages and tracks the benchmarks outlined in the strategy.
Build A House Program
Chesterfield County, VA
Chesterfield’s Build A House Program provides over 300 technical school students with real-life work experience in building group homes for people with intellectual disabilities. The Program cuts costs for the locality and is a collaboration of three units of local government and one nonprofit organization.
Building Cyber Safety through Community Partnerships
City of Madison, WI
The Madison Police Department (MPD) created a multi-disciplinary, community-based approach to promote greater understanding and knowledge about cyber crime and the safe use of digital media. The program includes local businesses, health organizations, and local school districts that have joined together with MPD to create a multitude of approaches to address cyber safety.
Business Liaison/Facilitator Program
City of San Clemente, CA
The San Clemente Community Development Department created the Business Liaison/Facilitator Program to support a key component of the city’s economic vitality—small business. District-specific Liaisons advise and assist small businesses with questions, business licenses, permits, improvements, and grant opportunities. Liaisons are the direct contact for the district and small business representatives at City Hall.
Business QuickStart
State of Rhode Island
Business QuickStart makes it easier for entrepreneurs to quickly identify the regulatory forms needed to start a business in Rhode Island. The tool boasts a searchable form library with forms grouped by popular business types and a business wizard that asks questions based on the entrepreneur’s individual business needs and suggests applicable state forms to complete.
Case Update Tracking and Eligibility
County of Sacramento, CA
The Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance developed an automated system that matches the welfare system against data sources from local, state, and federal entities to help detect and prevent welfare assistance fraud and overpayments. This system has saved millions of dollars annually by preventing and reducing welfare assistance overpayments.
Changing Actions to Change Habits
City of Columbus, OH
The city court created a specialized docket to meet the needs of human trafficking victims who have been charged with the misdemeanor offense of solicitation. Defendants are given the opportunity to enter an intensive two-year program offering them a safe path to exit their current lifestyle and reunite with their families. A community-based nonprofit supplements the program by providing services including post-traumatic stress counseling, housing assistance, women’s health, parenting classes, and drug treatment.
Charter School System
City of Pembroke Pines, FL
Through public-private partnerships, Pembroke Pines established a municipally-managed public charter school system in 2000, providing an award-winning, accredited curriculum. With six schools and an academic village that is home to the Charter High School, a performing arts center, regional library, sports center, and two colleges, the Charter School System serves 5,200 K-12 students each year. The charter schools have received state and national recognition for their achievements and are celebrating the graduation of the first kindergarten class.
Circles of Peace Pretrial Services Program
Santa Cruz County, AZ
Circles of Peace uses restorative justice principles to treat domestic violence offenders with the help of the community. When a person is released from custody pretrial, the judge requires that individual to connect with a group of close family, friends, and trained community members who monitor compliance with court-ordered release conditions and aid in preventing future crimes. 
Collective Knowledge for Better Public Safety
City of Auburn, AL
Auburn, Alabama embarked on a multi-phased public safety system integrating internal and external data into a map-based application to aid daily and emergency operations both on the Auburn University campus and throughout the city. This web-based solution leverages multiple, real-time data systems within an interactive map at minimal cost and without changing the data providers’ business practices. 
Community Choice Aggregation
Village of Oak Park, IL
Community Choice Aggregation, a triple, bottom-line, sustainability program, allows Oak Park to aggregate residential and small commercial electric accounts and seek a better power supply rate. In the first quarter, Oak Parkers saved over $1 million. Oak Park’s aggregation went one step further by contracting for 100 percent wind RECs for the two-year contract which will offset over 342,000 metric tons of CO2. Over 200 Illinois communities followed suit, representing one third of the utility’s customers.
Community Reentry for Women
Suffolk County, MA
The Community Reentry for Women Program is a multi-phased, gender-specific life skills and job placement program for female offenders reentering their communities from the Suffolk County House of Correction. The program is designed to identify and address the unique challenges faced by female offenders as they prepare for re-entry.
Compliance Checks: A Community Approach
Chesterfield County, VA
To reduce the ease at which underage drinkers can purchase alcohol, Chesterfield County’s substance abuse prevention coalition developed a strategy using positive rather than just punitive motivators. Sales of alcohol to minors from off-premise alcohol outlets decreased by 75 percent between 2007 and 2012 through a combination of increased compliance checks, positive recognition for the clerks and stores that complied, and the building of community partnerships with retail outlets.
Compressed Natural Gas Program
City of Nashua, NH
Nashua has made significant improvements in air quality and reductions in petroleum use through the purchase of its replacement vehicles to cleaner burning Compressed Natural Gas engines. Reduced emissions allow engines to last 25 percent longer and create significant fuel savings.
Connection Benefit Portal
State of Washington
Washington’s more efficient service delivery model addresses the significant increase in demand for social services and benefits despite the decrease in state resources. Washington Connection is a web-based benefit portal whereby low income families and individuals can access information, screen eligibility, and apply for up to 26 state and federal benefits and social services online. Residents in the greater Seattle area can also apply for the city’s benefit programs using the same online application.
Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety
Baltimore County, MD
Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety is a primary method of operational deployment combining crime and traffic analysis data to determine overlapping patterns of problems that can be addressed with high visibility enforcement and other countermeasures. In addition to reducing crime and accidents, the program data collected has helped supervisors monitor enforcement activity to ensure that personnel are operating in a purpose-driven manner.
e2 Business Program
Salt Lake City, UT
To address poor air quality, high electricity consumption, and waste in the business sector, the e2 Business Program was designed in 2003, providing local businesses with the knowledge and support necessary to implement sustainable business models. The Program demonstrates that instituting sound and environmentally-friendly business practices can increase efficiency and cost effectiveness of a business with many value-added benefits.
Electronic Plans
City of Charlotte, NC
The Charlotte Land Development Division initiated an electronic plan submission and review process (EPLAN) in-lieu of paper plans. EPLAN reduces costs and allows the collaborative on-screen review of development plans and commenting by multiple reviewers on a single electronic file instead of many paper plan sets.
Environmentally Responsible Redevelopment and Reuse
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Lenders and developers often face daunting environmental liability issues in their efforts to clean up and redevelop contaminated sites. The Environmentally Responsible Redevelopment and Reuse initiative promotes flexible liability relief approaches in exchange for the sustainable redevelopment of a contaminated site. Agency processes actively reduce the construction of new facilities on green space and promote the reuse and redevelopment of cleaned up sites.
Explorer Schools
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Explorer Schools is a national education project stimulating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in high schools and offering students unique opportunities to directly engage with expert STEM professionals and NASA’s missions. The program offers a revolving selection of the best of NASA’s educational products, including lesson plans and classroom activities that are aligned to national standards and support STEM subject areas.
Express Insurance
Export-Import Bank of the United States
Export-Import Bank developed Express Insurance to provide U.S. small-business exporters with a user-friendly and cost-effective option to protect against foreign-buyer nonpayment and enhance access to foreign-receivables financing. Express Insurance helps small businesses compete with global suppliers, enter new markets, add buyers, and improve cash flow while extending more attractive payment terms. The policy features a streamlined application, complimentary policy quotation, foreign-buyer credit reports, and buyer credit-limit pre-approvals often in five working days.
Family Impact Seminars for State Policymakers
21 States and the District of Columbia
The Family Impact Seminars are a proven, replicable, and cost-effective model for advancing evidence-based policy and overcoming partisan gridlock. The Seminars—a series of presentations, discussion sessions, and briefing reports—provide state policymakers with high-quality, objective research on timely issues. In evaluations, policymakers report Seminar information is useful in their jobs, shapes policy decisions, and helps them see the practical value of research. Technical assistance is provided by the Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars.
Federal Register 2.0
National Archives and Records Administration
Federal Register 2.0, developed with free, open-source software, makes federal regulatory information available to the public in a web newspaper format. This new edition of the Federal Register organizes material into six topical sections, offers notifications on virtually any topic or agency, makes it easier for citizens to understand the regulatory process and comment on proposed actions, and facilitates application developers in using the information.
Forensic Practitioner Training
State of Tennessee
State and local jurisdictions and university researchers partnered to develop an evidence-based crime scene investigator training program to meet the needs of law enforcement agencies in evidence identification, collection and preservation, and promotion of forensic investigation techniques, approaches, and use of technology. Using a hands-on, knowledge-based interdisciplinary training environment, participants learn best practices in collecting, preserving, packaging, and submitting evidence.
Fuel Cleaning System
Navy Region Hawaii Port Operations, United States Department of Navy
Before a ship undergoes maintenance or repair at Pearl Harbor, its fuel tanks must often be emptied of fuel and compensating seawater. If the fuel is contaminated and fails to meet military specifications, disposal is required. The Fuel Cleaning System uses filters and coalescers to clean the marine diesel fuel by removing particulate contaminants and seawater, enabling the fuel to meet specifications to be re-used or returned for full credit, resulting in millions of dollars in savings.
GovFest for Entrepreneurs: What Government Information Can Do for Your Business
Johnson County, KS
In order to connect small business owners and entrepreneurs to available services, GovFest for Entrepreneurs convenes small business owners, entrepreneurs, government agencies, and nonprofits serving businesses in the Kansas City metropolitan area to network and discuss collaborative opportunities. Nearly 60 federal, state, and local government agencies and nonprofits participate.
Green Communities
State of Michigan
Michigan Green Communities is a peer-to-peer network that connects leaders and supports their work through education and shares best practices to help other regions overcome barriers in the path toward sustainability. The network is made up of more than 300 local government leaders, the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Townships Association, the Michigan Association of Counties, the Michigan Energy Office, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Green Street
Town of Edmonston, MD
After four terrible floods, Edmonston’s housing stock, finances, and livability were devastated. Despite its location on the Anacostia river, the town realized that most of the damage was due to an overflowing stormwater system that was flooding parking lots. The Edmonston Green Street integrated a series of best practices to eliminate localized flooding and naturally filter water during storms.
GreenTools Sustainable Cities
King County, WA
King County GreenTools’ Sustainable Cities program provides 38 jurisdictions with tools, training, and collaborative opportunities to achieve economic and environmental objectives through green building, green infrastructure, and sustainability programming. Because of this program, the number of King County cities with green building programs has grown by 80 percent since 2007.
Guests First
Lee County, FL
Lee County offers tourism providers a free hospitality education and training program to support and strengthen the economic viability of its primary industry. Because tourism has an enormous impact on the county’s economy, the program provides the necessary tools and skills needed in a rapidly changing economic climate.
HabiMap and Wildlife Overpass
State of Arizona
The Arizona Game and Fish Department developed HabiMap Arizona as a user-friendly, web-based data viewer that puts wildlife data at your fingertips for early planning. It embodies breakthrough innovative technologies to solve complex environmental problems. The US93 highway project utilized GPS movement data for the identification of wildlife passage structure locations. Three overpass locations installed by ADOT (82 percent of recorded Desert Bighorn Sheep crossings) have successfully reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions, while enhancing habitat connectivity for wildlife.
Health and Human Services Video Interviewing
San Diego County, CA
San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency launched Video Interviewing with community partners to improve customer service, enhance access to public assistance, and increase the efficiency of service delivery for clients who face transportation challenges or other barriers. Targeted populations include pregnant women, migrant farm workers, homeless clients, residents of battered women’s shelters and transitional housing, and both tribal and rural clients.
Innovative Readiness Training Program
United States Department of Defense
The Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training Program is a volunteer opportunity for the National Guard and Reserves that provides training benefits for military personnel while addressing the needs of underserved American communities. Through this program, military units refine their engineering, health care, diving, and transportation skills by performing services and developing projects in and for communities that otherwise would not have the resources to conduct them on their own.
Investing in Innovation
United States Department of Education
The Investing in Innovation (i3) program links tiered federal grant funding in core education reform areas to rigorous evidence of effectiveness. The i3 framework for education organizations uses evidence to make decisions and allocate resources, and incentivizes the generation of evidence for effectiveness to better inform decisions about what practices or tools should scale.
JeffClerk Alert and Mobile Apps
Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court, LA
Jefferson Parish allows courthouse patrons and the general public to customize their experience with the clerk of court. The legal community and public may register online for automatic e-mail alerts and download mobile applications regarding information on civil and criminal cases, election results, and change orders to public works contracts. These tools provide a convenient way for the public to access the public record anytime and have increased productivity of court personnel and the legal community.
Kids’ Court School
State of Nevada
Crimes of sexual violence against children are among the most underreported and infrequently prosecuted major offenses. In cases of alleged abuse, there is rarely definitive physical evidence or an adult witness to verify a child’s report. Without corroborating evidence, legal professionals rely heavily on the accounts of children to discover the truth. The Kids’ Court School educates children and youth between the ages of 4 and 17 about the judicial process while simultaneously decreasing anxiety typically associated with the process.
Limitless Libraries
Nashville Davidson County, TN
When Nashville needed to take dramatic action to improve its public school libraries, the city formed a collection development and resource sharing partnership between the Nashville Public Library and public school libraries. Called Limitless Libraries, the program provides direct access and delivery of public library resources to public schools in the community.
MassGrown & Fresher
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The MassGrown & Fresher initiative is a project launched by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to enhance the viability of local agriculture. The initiative leverages an interactive and data-rich “Agri-Google” map, social network media, and partnership opportunities within the private and public sector to connect consumers to local agriculture.
Maui Nui Seabird Colony Champions
State of Hawaii
This program puts stewardship of natural resources back into the hands of the community to restore endangered and threatened seabird colonies. Colony Champions assist the state with the installation of educational signage, predator control, and monitoring of the reproductive success of these colonies. These individuals and communities take great pride in their colonies and in teaching others about these seabirds.
Mobile Inmate Video Visitation Bus
Pinellas County, FL
The Mobile Inmate Video Visitation Bus provides public access at remote sites throughout the county to facilitate visitations for residents with family and friends incarcerated at the Pinellas County Jail who otherwise would be unable to make the trip to the jail’s on-site visitation center. The program has improved waiting times for visits and eliminated missed appointments due to transportation hardships.
Mosaic Parcel Map Project
State of New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Department of Revenue and the University of New Hampshire Technology Transfer Center have partnered to create a sustainable, state-wide GIS Mosaic Parcel Map which contains detailed assessment information. The Mosaic increases efficiency in assessment, planning, disaster recovery, environmental conservation, and economic development at all levels of government.
Music Festival Fund
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
The Music Festival Fund offers life-enriching opportunities to children and youth receiving any service through the county’s Department of Human Services and/or Juvenile Probation. The fund, supported by two annual public fundraisers, was designed to bring some normalcy to the lives of vulnerable children and youth by meeting needs and wants not addressed by government funding streams.
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
MyCareer@VA is an online career development program developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create a more engaged and productive workforce prepared to serve veterans and their families. Unlike anything else in the federal government, MyCareer@VA is a powerful suite of tools and resources that allow current and potential VA employees to discover jobs that match their interests, map out a long-term career path, and explore available jobs and development opportunities.
Nancy's Garden
State of Montana
Nancy’s Garden, a program envisioned by Montana’s First Lady Nancy Schweitzer, helps children to grow minds, healthy bodies, and gardens. The program uses state agency resources to provide garden boxes, locally-donated seeds, and curricula to students across the state. Montana Correctional Enterprises produces the boxes from recycled materials for elementary school children to learn about math, science, and growing their own food.
National Expansion of the Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project
Sacramento City Unified School District
The Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project is a partnership of the faith-based community, a local teachers union, and an urban school district to improve collaboration between parents and staff at several Sacramento schools with a pervasive history of low student achievement, high levels of poverty, and high percentages of non-native English speakers. Currently, schools and districts in 12 states have adopted the model.
Neighborhood Partnering Program
City of Austin, TX
Austin’s Neighborhood Partnership Program seeks to engage and empower community groups by developing partnerships that advance small-scale infrastructure projects that may have been excluded from city plans and operating budgets but retain strong support among neighborhood residents. This collaborative partnership between the city and its residents shares the burden and the benefit of community building and maintenance.
Neighborhood Resource Center
Allen County, IN
The Allen County Recorder’s Office Neighborhood Resource Center is a free, online toolkit for neighborhood associations, property owners, and businesses. It provides access to neighborhood networking and essential covenant information about acceptable uses of property throughout Allen County.
New Markets Tax Credit Program
United States Department of the Treasury
The New Markets Tax Credit Program is a competitive award process that ensures the most highly-qualified applicants receive tax credit allocations, and results in rapid private sector capital being invested into businesses that offer the greatest community and economic development impacts in economically-distressed communities nationwide. The program has low government administrative costs, and the private sector conducts the underwriting and bears the economic risk.
Office of Reentry
City of Newark, NJ
Through a performance-managed, rapid-attachment-to-work model, Newark’s Office of Reentry has achieved measurable results in recidivism and employment outcomes for returning offenders. It employs a data-driven system that rewards high-performing service providers and eliminates poor performers.
One City, One Hire
City of Washington, DC
One City, One Hire is a public-private partnership that works with area employers to hire one qualified, unemployed District resident for available positions and reduce the city’s unemployment rate. Through screenings, trainings, and other services to facilitate matchings, this initiative has partnered with 580 employers, hiring more than 2,500 unemployed District residents since its launch.
Open-Source Software for Public Health Agencies
Larimer County, CO
Larimer County developed and implemented two open-source software applications that have improved public health services to residents. The first is a web-based registration system that supports the efficient staging and monitoring of mass health events, while the second provides the tools to operate public health clinics, including scheduling, cashiering, and medical record modules.
Outcome Budgeting
City of Baltimore, MD
Baltimore has transformed its budget process using Outcome Budgeting, an initiative in which every dollar is evaluated in terms of its contribution to achieving city-wide priorities and measurable goals. The process starts with desired results instead of last year’s spending, integrates citizen input, and replaces across-the-board cuts with an investment portfolio approach that maximizes value from each taxpayer dollar.
Outrageous Communication and Public Health
Oklahoma City, OK
In response to the region’s high obesity rates, Oklahoma City issued a challenge to its residents to lose a collective one million pounds. The awareness campaign inspired more than 47,000 people to record their weight-loss efforts en route to the million-pound goal. As a result of the campaign, nearly $1 billion in infrastructure improvements have been allocated to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle for residents.
Partnering with Skateboarders
City of Seattle, WA
Partnering with Skateboarders is a collaboration among Seattle, a local skating organization, and the community to provide adult supervision and opportunities at skateparks for community programming. Programs include recreation, leadership, employment skills, and service learning, with the goal of creating safe and inclusive skateparks for the community.
Pawsitive Adoptions With Success
City of Pasadena, TX
The Pasadena Animal Control and Adoption Department increases animal adoptions and saves animals from needless euthanasia. To raise awareness, the department collaborates with local businesses as corporate adoption partners and hosts adoption events at their facilities.
Payment Score Calculator
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
The Child Support Enforcement Program aims to enhance the well-being of children through proactive case management strategies. Using predictive analytics, its Payment Score Calculator determines the likelihood that a non-custodial parent will make child support payments; workers coordinate with parents to ensure payments are not missed.
Performance Audit
Orange County, CA
Orange County established Performance Audit to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of county programs, resulting in reliable and insightful information being presented to elected officials, increased accountability, creation of a trusted platform for change, significant cost savings, and enhanced transparency to the public. The Performance Audit team has identified critical findings of deficiency and made recommendations for improvement.
Permanent Electronics Recycling Program
Broome County, NY
In order to address a rapidly growing waste stream of electronic devices and equipment, Broome County created an affordable and convenient program for residents to drop off unwanted electronics for recycling in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner. Originally a series of events, the program is now available to residents year round.
Phoenix Rising Program
City of Ocala, FL
Phoenix Rising is a community development program that addresses core issues facing low-income communities in Ocala: employment, education, housing, and crime prevention. Low-income young adults learn job and life skills that will prepare them for employment or college; serve their communities by building affordable housing; and transform their own lives and roles in society. This program is a partnership of the city of Ocala/Police Department, Workforce, and Marion County Habitat for Humanity.
Play and Learn Islands
City of Rancho Cucamonga, CA
In response to increasingly limited budgets and growing demand for new programs, services, and other library activities, Rancho Cucamonga Library created interactive exhibits. Now available in libraries across California, these Play and Learn Islands are interactive, multi-modal exhibits for children and families that encourage playing, learning, and improved motor skills in reading, science, and mathematics.
Police Peer Helper Program
City of New Bedford, MA
Because police officers are often reluctant to seek professional help for the difficult stressors they experience, New Bedford’s Police Peer Helper Program recruits, trains, and supervises officers at every rank to reach out to their peers and reduce the stigma of receiving assistance. The program has provided thousands of hours of volunteer assistance to officers and their families both doing outreach peer counseling and conducting debriefings after a critical incident.
Police Portal
New Castle County, DE
The Police Portal uses an electronic repository to centralize all the information needed by police officers to tend to their daily tour of duty. Information is passed on to the proper people within a timely manner and includes case management reports, officer contact/on-call registry, and direct access to computer aided dispatch data.
Private Sector Integration Project
State of Illinois
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency through the Central United State Earthquake Consortium creates a streamlined system in which the private and public sectors work together within the eight-state region and across the country. The program’s single, multi-jurisdictional platform for communications helps all parties seamlessly and effectively share disaster intelligence and coordinate under a single operating picture.
Program Integrity Group
State of Ohio
The Ohio Program Integrity Group fights Medicaid fraud by combining resources from several state agencies to identify and respond to providers who defraud the program. By analyzing patterns in known fraud cases, the group devises data mining strategies to identify fraudulent activities, prosecute crimes, and recover taxpayer dollars.
Project Green House
City of Flint, Michigan
Project Green House (PGH) is reinventing the process of demolition and disposal of the many thousands of residential vacant homes across the United States, because current transporting and land filling is unsustainable and transfers money and jobs away from central cities. PGH will build and operate a network of highly engineered Advanced Material Recovery Facilities to recover and recycle up to 95 percent of the debris stream.
Property Information Map
City and County of San Francisco, CA
The Property Information Map website allows the public to search for any property in San Francisco and access property reports integrating data from a dozen city departments. The site includes zoning, permitting history, historic preservation surveys, architectural surveys, assessor tax records, last sales price, and planning commission documents.
Public Access Defibrillator Program
City of Sioux Falls, SD
Patients in cardiac arrest are more likely saved by rapid defibrillation, even if done by a lay person, than by waiting for the latest new device on an ambulance. Sioux Falls placed easy-to-use, public access defibrillators in over 1,000 locations where they can be quickly accessed by community members and placed on someone having a sudden cardiac arrest.
Public Health Emergency Community Notification
Clark County, WA
Clark County Public Health has developed a program that uses the polling capability of an existing automated reverse-calling system (Emergency Community Notification System) to more accurately and efficiently conduct disease investigations. The polling capabilities of the system are applicable to environmental public health threats, foodborne illness, and other communicable diseases.
Public Health Information System
Otter Tail County in partnership with 26 counties, MN
As members of a county computer cooperative and partial owners of the PH-Doc Information System, 27 counties designed and developed an interoperable public health information system. The system provides access to bi-directional exchange of immunization records and continuity of care documents.
Redemption Youth Community Council
City of Brooklyn, NY
Redemption Youth Community Council is a collaborative enterprise of teens and supportive adults which builds character education, leadership, workforce skills, and social responsibility. The Council includes self efficacy, college preparation assessments, career guidance, and civic engagement opportunities.
Reentry Hotline
State of Kentucky
The 24-hour toll-free Reentry Hotline provides customized information and referrals to offenders upon release from prison to assist them with their basic daily needs and ensure their success in their home community. This service is provided by the Department of Corrections and staffed by offenders that are housed in a Therapeutic Treatment Community receiving substance abuse services.
Replicating the Blueprint for Safety
City of Saint Paul, MN
The St. Paul Police Department created Replicating the Blueprint for Safety, a comprehensive, interagency guide for processing domestic violence-related criminal cases. The Blueprint links every practitioner from 911 dispatchers to the judges and outlines each person’s role and responsibilities in protecting victims and holding perpetrators accountable. Agencies moved from operating individually to collectively working together to more effectively respond to domestic violence.
Residential Life-Safety Inspection Program
City of Saint Paul, MN
The residential life-safety inspection program uses a predetermined point system to provide incentives for keeping residents and fire fighters safe. Saint Paul performs inspections on all rental properties in the city, ties the success of that inspection to future ones, and applies a fee in order to recover its costs.
Results Only Work Environment
Hennepin County, MN
Hennepin County has increased employee productivity and morale, attracted quality applicants, and reduced costs through the implementation of a Results Only Work Environment, whereby all staff members work towards and are evaluated on clearly defined results and have significant control over their work and lives. Staff members are encouraged to work together to build in flexibility wherever they can and work when and where they are the most productive as long as customers’ needs are met in a timely, appropriate, and seamless manner.
Right Sizing Juvenile Justice
State of Alabama
Right Sizing Juvenile Justice reduced commitments to state custody by almost 50 percent and doubled the number of community-based programs for delinquent youth. The approach implemented a comprehensive strategic plan that reimagined, expanded, and strengthened grant programs for local alternatives to commitment and enhanced the use of data and quality control among private providers and grantees. In addition, the reform effort has resulted in reducing the disproportionality of minorities in the state’s juvenile justice system.
Safe Routes to School
United States Department of Transportation
Seeking to engage communities in data collection and information-driven decision making, the National Center for Safe Routes to School offers communities a service that makes the collection and analysis of school travel information easy and useful at all project stages. Nationally, the data service allows users to identify trends, share successful practices, and support research.
School Emergency Contact Cards and Foster Care Placements
City of Baltimore, MD
Baltimore’s Department of Social Services entered into a partnership with local public schools to use information on emergency contact cards when placing a child into foster care. With the assistance of a centralized dispatch system, the agency can now quickly place a child in a familiar home with someone who knows and loves them, and the child does not have to change schools.
School Threat Assessment Response Team
Los Angeles County, CA
To address pre-meditated campus violence that occurs in educational settings from elementary schools to universities, the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health has developed a partnership with educational institutions, federal and local law enforcement agencies, and mental health providers focused on the prevention and early intervention of students on a pathway to violence.
Science and Math Moving On
Stark County, OH
Science and Math Moving On is a county-wide initiative that supplies high-tech equipment and high-quality professional development to 17 school districts, encompassing 111 school buildings and serving 65,000 students from preschool through grade 12. The program encourages 21st century education practices by providing sustained professional development and modeling best practices related to inquiry and tech integration with hands-on activities.
Security Integration Initiative
State of Maryland
To reduce crime and improve public safety, Maryland created the Criminal Justice Dashboard and the Maryland Community Services Locator, both powerful data consolidation and search tools that serve as the cornerstones of Maryland’s Security Integration Initiative. By establishing secure data tunnels, participating agencies maintain control over their data and update information according to internal policies.
Service Coordination Model
State of Louisiana
The Service Coordination model was developed and implemented to provide single case management, allowing consistent, individualized management and oversight of all cases. Youth entering Louisiana’s Office of Juvenile Justice system are assigned a probation/parole officer who handles the case from entry until exit from the system. The officer knows the needs of the youth and family and assures that needed services are in place. Better outcomes for youth and decreased recidivism have resulted from this innovative program.
Oklahoma County, OK
SHINE (Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere) deploys low-level offenders sentenced to community service in an organized, structured, and fully supervised program to clean up, beautify, and make central Oklahoma neighborhoods safer. Offenders work on structured crews to clean up litter, remove graffiti, clear brush, clean up illegal dumping areas, and even set up and tear down seating for community events.
SmartWay Transport
United States Environmental Protection Agency
SmartWay Transport addresses freight transportation greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions through a comprehensive program of market-based incentives, assessment tools, and technical assistance to help the shipping community identify and adopt cleaner, more efficient technologies and strategies. The program works in partnership with the freight industry associations, and shipping, logistics, and trucking partners.
Solar Decathlon
United States Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a student competition that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate sustainable, solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winning team best demonstrates a solution that blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
Special Needs Registry
City of St. Louis, MO
The city developed a central, real-time database registry that provides access to critical information about special needs individuals of all ages. City agencies use this database to identify those individuals and facilities most severely affected during emergencies and to plan responses to public health needs, potential evacuation or sheltering situations, and provision of services documentation.
Street Light Efficiency program
City of Los Angeles, CA
The Street Lighting Green Initiative is replacing 140,000 existing streetlight fixtures in Los Angeles with efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) units that will save energy by a minimum of 50 percent, reduce carbon emissions by approximately 40,500 tons annually, and reduce maintenance. Each new fixture has a remote monitoring device, providing the means to confirm operation, status, energy savings, and control capabilities.
Summer Youth Employment Program
Milwaukee County, WI
The Summer Youth Employment Program is designed as a jobs and training initiative in partnership with the Milwaukee Public Schools and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board. Since its inception, the program has educated and employed 800 urban and economically-disadvantaged youth and emphasizes environmental ethics, nature education, and life skills.
Supervisory Leadership Training Program
City of Olathe, KS
Through a partnership with the University of Kansas Public Management Center, the city provides customized training using innovative techniques and evaluation methods. The program’s focus is to apply the city’s vision, values, and mission to the role of the supervisor. Several initiatives were included in the training curriculum design to increase participant engagement and retention to more strongly link classroom learning to improved workplace performance and prepare employees to adapt to emerging needs.
Technology Initiatives for Building Placards
City of Roanoke, VA
The city of Roanoke Building Inspections Department has applied quick response codes to permit placards for new building activity allowing contractors and applicants to view the daily inspections calendar online via smartphones or tablets. This program also links the customer to the Online Permit Center, where they can request inspections, view permit history and inspection results, as well as receive notification of required inspections to finalize the permit and complete the job.
Temporary and Medical Assignment Program
Riverside County, California
The County of Riverside’s Temporary Assignment Program and Medical Assignment Program have developed a cost saving internal contingent labor source that provides temporary, per diem, and on call workers at a significant cost savings over the use of outside staffing agencies and nurse registries. Temporary employees are employed at-will by the Human Resources Department, and sent on assignments with more than 40 county departments and agencies.
The Portland Loo
City of Portland, OR
The lack of public facilities and the associated cost of clean up prompted Portland to find a safe and affordable public restroom solution for residents. The result was an ADA-compliant, urban toilet that connects to sewer and water in the right-of-way. Since installation of the first unit in 2008, the Portland Loo has been greeted with growing enthusiasm by neighboring businesses and residents for making the city more welcome and livable.
Track DC
City of Washington, DC
The District of Columbia’s initiative to provide government transparency and accountability includes TrackDC, an auto-updated dashboard for government operations. The dashboard displays agency information, social media accounts, performance plans, spending, budget, customer service data, performance indicators, DC municipal regulations, notices, final rulemakings, and agency data.
Transitional Education Program
Racine County, WI
The Transitional Education Program is a collaborative effort between Racine County and the Unified School District serving high-risk youth with a demonstrated history of behavioral problems and academic underachievement. Program staff provide in-school, in-classroom support to teaching staff and in-community support of students and family including truancy checks, home-school-community liaison, facilitation of referral for formal and informal needs, treatments, job- and career-related services, as well as assistance to youth and their families to comply with court-orders.
Tree Voucher Program
City of Paducah, KY
In January 2009, Paducah, Kentucky experienced a devastating ice storm leading to the loss or weakening of half of the city’s trees, making them susceptible to future disease and infestation. To recover the urban forest canopy, Paducah initiated a partnership with the community and local nurseries to establish a tree voucher program reimbursing residents for a portion of the tree costs.
Truancy Court Program
State of Maryland
The Truancy Court Program is a non-adversarial, therapeutic, holistic approach to encourage truants to attend school, catch up with classes, do homework regularly, and improve behavior. It is designed to provide schools and families with the support and connections necessary to help truants achieve a productive school career and reduce school dropout rates.
Virtual Interactive Planner
Town of Cary, NC
The town of Cary developed an interactive, web-based tool designed to provide real-time information and reduce the confusion and intimidation associated with complex and comprehensive processes like land development. Through the use of video and animation, the program walks customers through each step in the development process, breaking down information and highlighting opportunities for public involvement. A more than 40 percent reduction in calls has increased staff productivity and allowed the town to reallocate resources more effectively.
Virtual Interns "Moove" Leaders Up!
United States Department of Agriculture
The USDA’s Virtual Intern Program retains highly-talented students and builds on experiences, knowledge, and diversity of multicultural students to become outstanding, global leaders. The program uses virtual communication tools to retain highly-talented students located across the U.S. after their seasonal internship is over, and provides financial, social, and career support to strengthen on-time graduation and leadership skills which ultimately lead to a cohort of successful diverse professionals able to maneuver in an increasingly complex work environment.
Work Hard—Work Smart
City of Wichita Falls, TX
Work Hard—Work Smart builds and promotes a work-ready environment between employers and prospective employees. The program’s approach helps realign current resources of traditional educational and workforce investment systems, focusing on skill development and alignment, ultimately leading to productive job placement.
Workers’ Compensation Management System
State of Montana
Skyrocketing workers’ compensation costs led to Montana having some of the highest workers’ compensation rates in the nation. State government leaders recognized that this trend was not sustainable. Through the implementation of aggressive policy management, safety, and return to work programs, the state was able to reduce the cost of providing workers compensation insurance and increase the safety of its employees.
Youth Achievement Program
DeKalb County, GA
DeKalb Juvenile Court created the Youth Achievement Program to provide educational alternatives for youth who have left the traditional school setting. The program provides services that positively impact the academic, social, and economic well being of youth and encourages stronger, more responsible, career-driven adults. Services include tutoring, GED classes, case management, mentoring, and a summer work program. Under the guidance of Judge Desiree Sutton Peagler, it has expanded to serve over 300 youth in our community.
Youth-Police Unity Project
City of Rochester, NY
Teen Empowerment’s Youth-Police Unity Project seeks to heal the culture of adversarial interaction by engaging a core group of officers and youth in collaborative action. Members plan and implement strategies to foster dialogue and improve police department practices that alleviate alienation, racial tensions, and counter-productive attitudes and behaviors among youth and police.
Youth Workforce Development Program
Racine County, WI
The Youth Workforce Development Program serves at-risk youth by teaching them the required skills to gain valuable work experience and receive high school credit, all while giving back to the community in which they reside. While any resident aged 16 to 21 can participate, the program targets low- to moderate-income youth and those that face additional barriers such as homelessness, juvenile delinquency, and academic challenges.

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. 
Press Release dated September 25, 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment