Pittsburgh one of seven governments nationwide to win competitive fellowship award
PITTSBURGH, PA – Code for America will send technology experts to Pittsburgh next year to help the Peduto Administration’s efforts to bolster innovation in city government, it was announced at the annual Code for America Summit in San Francisco today.
Code for America is a volunteer year-of-service program in which experienced technologists join with governments to tackle local challenges, build applications to solve them, and test the results. Over the past four years, 130 Fellows have produced more than 55 web apps for 30 municipal governments.
In Pittsburgh the Fellows will be working to bring efficiency and transparency to city purchasing, a complicated process by which the city buys everything from office supplies to fire trucks, and organizes public bids and requests for proposals from interested vendors.
“I am honored and excited that Pittsburgh is joining with Code for America to build the city’s reputation for innovation and transparency. We look forward to working in particular on new approaches to procurement that drive increased community participation, and in so doing, build the digital capabilities of our great city,” Mayor William Peduto said. “I know the Fellows can learn from us — and us from them — as we work together to make government better for city residents.”
This is the first time Pittsburgh has successfully applied for the Fellows program. Forty cities applied, and Pittsburgh today joined Albuquerque; Indianapolis, Miami-Dade County, Somerville, Mass., Vallejo, Calif., and West Sacramento, Calif., in the 2015 program.
“We’re thrilled to announce the cities and county who will participate in our 2015 Fellowship. Each of these has a remarkable commitment to applying modern tools and approaches to meeting the needs of the community,” Bob Sofman, Chief Program Officer at Code for America, said.
The Fellows will arrive in Pittsburgh for training in January. In February they will begin interviewing government officials, vendors and others involved in city procurement, and begin designing their projects thereafter. The city is paying $100,000 to cover their work and local foundations are paying $330,000.
“I am thrilled to hear that Pittsburgh has been chosen to host Code for America fellows in 2015. This group of talented and dynamic individuals will use technology to make our city more accessible to all Pittsburghers,” said Council Member Natalia Rudiak, who traveled to San Francisco for the announcement. “I am proud to represent Pittsburgh at this year’s CFA Summit, and this honor solidifies our city’s growing reputation as a place that is innovative and open to new and better ways to govern.”
Code for America has local “brigades” of technologists working on municipal issues in 50 cities nationwide, and the organization has lately certified Open Pgh as its local partner. It has several projects in the works including new version of the city’s police blotter.
“We’re excited to work with Open Pgh going forward on our open data efforts, and making sure our information exchange with the public is as open as it can be,” said Laura Meixell, the city’s Analytics and Strategy Manager.
The local Code for America brigade is meeting tonight starting at 6 p.m. at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh South Side branch to watch the livestream of the Code for America cities announcement. The city Cable Bureau will record the meeting.
From its first days in office the Peduto administration has focused on making lasting investments in innovation and technology that will transform how the city operates for decades. It has championed civic engagement tools like Open Data legislation, Engage Pittsburgh site, and Nextdoor; redesigned service delivery through its new @Pgh311 Twitter account and upcoming efforts to outfit snowplows with GPS; and is working on long-term plans to collect real-time data from all city departments.
Code for America is a national non-profit that believes government can work for the people, by the people, in the 21st century. In collaboration with communities, companies, and government, it builds open source technology and organizes a network of people dedicated to making government services simple, effective, and easy to use. More at www.codeforamerica.org.
Code for America receives generous support from Omidyar Network, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Google.org, the James Irvine Foundation, and many other foundations, corporations, and individual donors that support our national and local programs.