(Washington, DC) The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government today recognized the District’s TrackDC and One City • One Hire initiatives as “Bright Ideas” in government innovation. The programs are among 111 government initiatives from across the United States recognized as highly innovative problem-solving efforts.
“One of my goals is to make the District government work better for everyone in our city, and it's gratifying to be recognized by Harvard for the innovative work we’re doing on behalf of District residents,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “Both Track DC and the One City • One Hire initiative demonstrate the standard we’ve set for ourselves as a government, in creating and implementing programs and initiatives that change lives.”
This year’s cohort of honorees hails from all levels of government, including school districts; municipal, state, and federal agencies; and public-private partnerships. The programs honored demonstrate a creative range of solutions to issues such as education, crime, environmental problems, urban and rural decline and economic development and unemployment.
TrackDC allows residents to track the performance of individual District government agencies and learn about agencies’ performance plans and key performance indicators; previous years’ performance accountability reports; operational budgets and spending; and recent newsworthy developments. Users are also able to access agency data when it is present in the data catalog and connect directly to an agency via links to the agency’s website and “Ask the Director” page.
The goal of TrackDC is to lessen the gap between citizens and their government, and present operational data in as transparent and up-to-date a manner as possible.
“We’re honored that the Kennedy School has chosen to recognize TrackDC as being among the most innovative government programs in the country in delivering on Mayor Gray’s promise of transparency about government operations,” said Rob Mancini, the District’s Chief Technology Officer. “I am proud of our Citywide Data Warehouse team, who are as dedicated as they are hard-working.”
One City • One Hire
In September 2011, Mayor Gray launched the first phase of One City • One Hire, which seeks to get DC back to work by asking area employers to commit to hiring at least one unemployed, qualified District resident. Managed by the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES), One City • One Hire has partnered with 790 employers to place a total of 4,667 residents in jobs to date. DOES provides screening, training and other services to facilitate matches at no cost to the employer or job seeker. The second phase of this initiative is designed to reach out to thousands of disconnected, unemployed District residents so that we can better match them with One City • One Hire partners, as well as connect them with volunteer opportunities that could lead to sustainable, professional employment.
As part of the second phase of this initiative, DOES has developed the Path2Work and Path2Career series to encourage employers to focus on placing unemployed District residents on sustainable career paths rather than merely hiring them for jobs. Beginning in summer 2012, DOES has hosted industry-specific informational and hiring events that include events in partnership with the armed forces, public-safety agencies, District government agencies, and DC’s growing hospitality industry. In offering targeted events, DOES can further help to ensure that unemployed residents are better prepared for applying, interviewing, and gaining full-time employment in specific industries and occupations that match their skills and backgrounds.
“We are delighted to have received this honor,” said DOES Director Lisa Maria Mallory. “When we started the One City • One Hire program a year ago, we knew that we needed to be innovative in order to address the difficult challenges that the District was facing with unemployment. With almost 5,000 District residents hired, I am pleased to say that the program is working, and we are on the right path to getting all District residents who want to work, back to work.”
“Government innovation does not require endless resources and generous budgets,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Kennedy School’s 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.”
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.