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BLOOMINGTON, IN —The City of Bloomington is pursuing a prestigious year-long partnership with Code for America, a national service organization that infuses top talent from the tech sector into local governments to help build capacity for innovation. As of June, Bloomington is one of several finalists in the selection process. As the City looks for ways to spur civic participation and use openness to drive improvements in government efficiency and effectiveness, Code for America is a natural partner to engage the Bloomington community.
This opportunity helps the City achieve a number of goals. Bloomington is a developing information technology center of innovation and this opportunity will codify and enhance that reputation worldwide. Secondly, Bloomington seeks to establish a community of practice among cities for sharing open source computer code and for developing code in partnership with one another. Bloomington is a major contributor to the development of the Open311 platform and will continue to further that effort through our partnership with Code for America.
About Code for America
The Code for America fellowship is a competitive program where a select few cities are chosen each year to receive three to five top computer development and design professionals. These professionals work collaboratively with city hall, residents, community organizations and the local technology community to help the city find new solutions to community problems. The specialists begin by first researching the needs of community members, and then design lightweight technology tools that bring greater openness, efficiency and participation to local government. Through this partnership, Code for America will help us use the power of the participatory web to bring new innovative practice into municipal government.
Over the past two decades, advances in technology have enabled positive disruptions throughout our economy and society. Many governments—the institutions tasked with serving us all—have not kept up with these advances. Code for America’s mission is to get government back on the curve of innovation so that these new tools can be put to use helping our communities thrive.
Bloomington has been a technology leader and is a natural partner with Code for America. The City has recently released open source Open311 tools, been accepted as a Google Summer of Code organization, and begun production use of Kuali community/open source software, all of which place Bloomington at the forefront of innovation in information technology. The City looks to continue to enhance its leadership and press forward even further through a partnership with Code for America.
More information about Code for America can be found at http://codeforamerica.org/
In order to participate in this rare opportunity, the City is seeking partners to help financially support the work to be done, both in the application process and in development should the City be selected. Financial support from the local business community would be a significant asset in a successful application for a Code for America partnership, and would help to ensure that the City of Bloomington is a leader in harnessing technology to meet the needs of our residents. Interested businesses or community leaders can reach out to Rick Dietz, Director of Information & Technology Services for the City of Bloomington, for more information on contributing.