Civic News
Data / Ethics / Municipal government / Universities

Jim Kenney: expanded college internships could move forward city priorities, like open gov

"I would partner with every university in the area to develop a work study component so that higher-level students would work in the government and get credit for that toward their degree"

Councilman Jim Kenney outsources his social strategy. Inquirer file photo

City data initiatives should be packaged with greater university collaboration, says City Councilman Jim Kenney, and the framework for such work has already been established.
“If I was the mayor of the city — and we’ve started this process with Temple — I would partner with every university in the area to develop a work study component so that higher-level students would work in the government and get credit for that toward their degree,” Kenney told Technically Philly last month.
An expansive internship-style program would work well for important but less immediately timely city priorities, like releasing city data, which Kenney says is ‘maybe a five’ on a scale of 10 in priorities, when compared with crime prevention, education, job creation and the like.
The Division of Technology, which, according to City CTO Tommy Jones is stretched thin in capacity, could work with university computer and information science programs to develop strategies and move forward projects, Kenney says. That would make the release, organization and actioning of city data more possible, said the at-large councilman. The release of city data and information is a major part of the Digital Philadelphia plan put forth by the DOT.

Jim Kenney


While data generally is something easy to support, Kenney does note his caution around health care records not properly redacted and any other information that could reveal personal issues or details.
“I’m not in favor of crime stats, though, in that way,” he said, allowing that the Police Department does share some in limited ways. “I wouldn’t want to stigmatize any neighborhood in a way that could mean there’s less investment.”
“So we’ll go to Drexel and take their — what I’m going to lovingly call — ‘geeks’ and say ‘What are you doing? Do you want to work on this, or does this interest you for making the city work better?” says Kenney, who adds that in a plan like this, the students wouldn’t be paid but would receive college credit. “They’d learn something about challenges in big city government, and we’d benefit from their insight and new skills.”
Kenney’s office is currently helping to organize something similar around human services and social work programs at Penn and Temple, the South Philly native said.
“Ten to 15 of their students are getting into the world to work to come partner with our folks here and take some help of the case load and bring their cutting edge training in exchange for credit and learning something from our seasoned people,” Kenney said. “Now that’s a model of something to expand.”

 

Companies: City of Philadelphia / Temple University
Series: Transparencity

Before you go...

Please consider supporting Technical.ly to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, Technical.ly has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services
Engagement

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!

Trending

Philly startup Burro aims to revolutionize farming with robots

Ghost Robotics is selling a majority stake for $240M, dodging months of protests over military uses

As a returning citizen, she experienced tech overload. Now she’s fighting to end the digital divide

How to encourage more healthcare entrepreneurship (and why that matters)

Technically Media