9 civic-tech projects that came out of ODDT's fellowship program - Technical.ly Philly

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Aug. 8, 2017 7:34 am

9 civic-tech projects that came out of ODDT’s fellowship program

Eleven technologists spent three months working with the city as part of the Digital Transformation fellowship.

Fellows showcasing the results from their three-month stint working with the city.

(Photo by Roberto Torres)

When even the largest tech companies struggle to fill their tech jobs, how does the City of Philadelphia plan to get all the hands it needs?

The Office of Data and Digital Transformation had one idea back in February: let’s set up a fellowship program. The idea was a continuation of an ongoing strategy for the city, which needs all hands on deck to carry out the renovation of its website, currently in beta mode.

“Philly has a really talented design and tech community and they want to help,” said Tim Wisniewski. It was the target community of the three-month program. At the end of June, 11 technologists got together at the city’s PHL Innovation Lab to showcase the civic-tech projects they’d been working on.

Here’s the list of projects the fellows completed:

Recently, in a bid to fit the growing team that was a better culture fit, ODDT packed up and left the Municipal Services Building to set up camp at Center City’s Pipeline Philly.

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“The fellowships are an opportunity to work for government on projects with high impact,” Wisniewski told Technical.ly. The potential for the fellows, he said, is the flexibility of not having to make long-term career change but focus on specific projects of civic technology.

Results from the nine projects are helping inform the decisions made in the build out of Phila.gov’s out-of-beta site, scheduled to be released at the end of the year.

Content inventory is how we’re opening the conversation,” Wisniewski said, in reference to the content audit that pored over the city’s whopping 10,000 pages of content. That’s a whole lotta PDFs.

Look out for more fellowships in the civic-tech space from the city.  For Wisniewski, it’s a sign that the experiment worked.

“We’ve tested our the model and are already seeing great results,” he said.

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Roberto Torres

Roberto Torres became Technical.ly Lead Philly Reporter in May 2016. Prior, he was a freelance contributor to Technical.ly and Al Dia News. The native Venezuelan moved to Philadelphia in 2015 after reporting on research at his alma mater, the University of Zulia. Whenever he's not fencing deadlines, he can be found standing in line at Overbrook Pizza in West Philly, running Netflix/Hulu marathons with his wife or reading news from Venezuela.

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