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These civic tech projects are getting a piece of Philly’s new $10M Operations Transformation Fund

The fund supports government programs aimed at building upon some of the innovations, cost savings or efficiencies employees found in the first pandemic year.

Center City at night. (Photo by Flickr user Michael Righi, under a Creative Commons license)
Tech is getting a boost at City Hall.

This spring, members of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) shared details of a new $10 million fund had been created to fund projects across departments that are aimed at building upon some of the innovations, cost savings or efficiencies employees found in the first pandemic year.

The Operations Transformation Fund has $10 million to dole out over the next two years (fiscal year 2022 and 2023), and this week, the City announced the first round of projects that will get those funds. Eleven projects were selected from nearly 60 proposals — “a clear signal that City departments are incredibly interested in improving how they deliver services to Philadelphia residents,” per a statement.

The selected projects will create 19 new jobs in positions such as software engineers, designers, project coordinators, human resources and community engagement specialists. Four of the chosen initiatives also include $50,000 to compensate residents for participating in focus groups, forming an advisory committee, and usability testing to inform the City’s work going forward.

Among the 11 projects, here are the tech-focused initiatives:

  • Office of Immigrant Affairs and OIT — $450,000 to standardize translated content on the City’s website
  • OIT — $400,000 to secure the City’s digital forms and streamline City processes and services
  • OIT — $225,000 for the new OIT Apprenticeship Program that will teach engineering and UX skills to City workers across departments
  • Department of Records — $450,000 to create a public-facing portal to deliver public safety reports, replacing a paper-based system

Across different departments, the funds were also allocated to projects that will conduct community-based, on-site recruitment for civil service examinations, to create an “Equitable Community Engagement Toolkit,” and to provide mental health resources to youth and families in need. Funds are also going to updating the City’s property data, to help the City determine if its planning and approval process for developments is equitable, to the Philadelphia Streets Department to deliver on capital projects and to the Office of Sustainability to address environmental injustice in the Eastwick neighborhood.

“The Operations Transformation Fund was launched with a key focus in mind: reimagining City processes so we can better serve Philadelphia residents,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “The pandemic forced all of us — including City government — to adapt to unprecedented circumstances and pushed us to consider how we can better our work. The goal of this fund is to prioritize efficiency and equity as we discover new ways to best serve our city and its communities.”

The next cycle and application period will take place in the spring.

Companies: City of Philadelphia / Office of Innovation and Technology

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