How San José’s Public Sector is Honoring the City’s Silicon Valley Pedigree
Through several exciting initiatives, the city of San José, California, is using technology to uplift its community.
As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts continue and local economies start to reopen, many government agencies are taking what they’ve learned about remote work and new technologies over the last year and applying it to their 2021 goals and initiatives.
In one of the most prominent examples of this trend, the San José, California, public sector has become a pioneer in the digital space. Championing programs centered around device access, stable internet connections, and technology training, the city is emphasizing the important role technology plays in building stronger, more resilient communities.
Prioritizing Technology Training for City Employees
During a recent panel discussion, Mad Skills in the (Government) House: Reskilling and Upskilling Your Employees, San José CIO Rob Lloyd was asked about maintaining a technology-rich landscape post-pandemic. He responded, “We’re asking ourselves, ‘What are all the things we’re going to have to do to create this new normal effectively?’ It’s everything from facilities improvements to policies to…budget actions to management skills.”
Lloyd went on to describe the city’s Powered by People 2.0 initiative, which is focused on improving employee retention, engagement, and advancement through training and development. “Drive to Digital,” one of the initiative’s four main objectives, emphasizes the importance of replacing manual paper transactions with automated processes and digital, self-service tools that help create a better employee and citizen experience.
As part of the program, the city is dedicating hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to support the assessment, creation, and implementation of new employee training and development opportunities that will help prepare staff for new ways of working.
Building a Smart City
As part of its annual Digital Cities Survey, the Center for Digital Government reviews applicants from across the country to identify the most innovative cities in the United States. In November 2020, San José took first place in the 500,000 or more population category due, in part, to its Smart City Vision, a program launched in 2016 by Mayor Sam Liccardo.
Among its many objectives, the program aims to use technology to:
- Improve safety in the community using data analytics, machine learning, and connected infrastructure. This will help the city identify homes with the highest fire risk as well as the most dangerous intersections.
- Promote inclusivity through digital tools, including an online rental registry for accessing affordable housing. The city also plans to position more libraries as digital training centers for community members.
- Foster connectivity between neighbors using a digital neighborhood dashboard. When developed, this dashboard will provide residents with useful information like updates on development projects and local businesses. Residents will also be able to use the dashboard to file a report if they have any questions or concerns.
Improving Internet Access for All Citizens
An estimated 95,000 San José residents lack internet access at home, including 36% of the city’s Latinx families and 47% of its Black families. To help close this digital divide, the city launched the Digital Inclusion Partnership, a “$24 million cross-sector fund that will be distributed in grant awards over a 10-year period.”
The partnership, which is committed to connecting 50,000 households with the digital resources they need to improve their quality of life, can be broken down into three key focus areas:
- Access programs that seek ways to provide residents with high-speed internet connections.
- Device programs that are dedicated to ensuring all community members have a working device.
- Digital literacy programs that are focused on providing residents with the technology skills to improve their access to jobs, educational opportunities, and more.
Helping Employees and Communities Make the Most of New Technologies
While new technologies have the power to transform entire communities, the learning curve can be steep for many individuals. As city employees and residents seek to navigate new platforms and devices, questions and confusion are bound to arise.
At Epiphany, we provide your community with the support services it needs to quickly adopt and deploy new solutions. Through in-person and remote training services and 24/7 call center support, we serve as an extension of your IT team and are committed to solving end-user challenges in real time. Learn more here.