Code for America today announced the selection of the City of West Sacramento, in partnership with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) for its flagship national civic technology fellowship program, along with six other local governments from around the United States.
West Sacramento and SACOG will join the ranks of two dozen nationally recognized leaders in civic innovation such as New York City, Louisville and San Francisco and host a cohort of programmers, designers, and developers over the course of the next year. The governments and Fellows explore answers to local challenges by engaging with the community, building applications, and testing the results. The Washington Post described Code for America as “the technology world’s equivalent of the Peace Corps or Teach for America.”
“Code for America is rapidly transforming America by catalyzing civic innovation in America’s cities to strengthen democracy and reimagine how we create value and services,” said Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “West Sacramento is excited to lead the nation in partnership with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments as a Code for America city, working not only to spur civic innovation in our own town, but to design that innovation for widespread adoption region wide…spreading Code for America’s transformative impact to small cities and rural towns.”
SACOG Board Chair Steve Cohn says that is the point. “In addition to improving the quality of public services and facilitating co-creation of value by citizens with their local governments, the project will help catalyze our emerging regional technology, coding, design, and development community and startups, strengthening the Code for Sacramento brigade”.
The Code for America Fellowship pairs local governments with teams of mid-career, civic minded technologists for one year. Over the past four years, the Fellowship program has produced more than 55 web apps with 30 municipal governments and 103 Fellows. In 2014, Code for America began a pilot program to deepen and integrate health-related projects. The governments selected for the 2015 Fellowship will build on prior learnings in health, economic development, procurement, public safety, and justice.
“By working in an iterative, user-centered, data-driven approach, the Fellowship program strengthens key capabilities within local government and communities,” said Luke Norris, Director of Government Relations. “Well beyond the Fellowship, we see city staff continuing to design services for and with the community, make data meaningful, and make better technology choices. The Fellowship shifts the way cities think about, and use technology to deliver public services.”
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