Google.org grants $2 million in funding and pro bono support to InnovateUS


Editor’s note: Today’s post is authored by Beth Noveck, Director of The Burnes Center for Social Change and The GovLab.

Countries around the world help their government employees build important digital skills: In Singapore, the Civil Service College mandates training in digital and technological skills for public sector professionals. Meanwhile, Canada’s Busrides platform offers its 250,000 government workers podcasts on topics like data science, AI and machine learning. But public professionals in the U.S. — the nation’s largest workforce — are not required to learn the latest digital skills to serve communities. This is leading to a widening gap between the skills our public workers have (and want), and the ones citizens need.

InnovateUS is focused on closing that gap. We train public sector professionals in digital, data and community engagement skills to deliver services and make policy — not just efficiently, but effectively and equitably. Equipping public professionals with these skills can change how people work in government and how governments work for people. It can improve career mobility for public workers, foster a trusted relationship between citizens and their government, help us collaboratively address the pressing challenges of our time, and ultimately forge a stronger democracy.

Google.org is providing $2 million in funding to help us expand digital skills training to more than 50,000 government workers across at least 15 states. Our training will now include access to the Google Career Certificates program to help advance proficiencies across critical areas like cybersecurity, data analytics and project management.

This funding, in addition to other support, will also help us launch in-depth courses: Human-Centered Design will teach public professionals how to design policy and services for those most affected; What Works will show how new technology has been used to solve big challenges in other communities; and Responsible AI for Public Professionals will provide an introduction to the foundational elements of AI, use cases for government and associated risks, and ethical implications. And Google.org will provide pro bono support, including user experience researchers and designers, to ensure that participants can easily explore and access courses as we add more to the curriculum, and even propose their own.

These new offerings will build on InnovateUS’s wide range of existing programming. Government workers from 60 different agencies are taking our weekly workshops, including how to responsibly use artificial intelligence. They can also go at their own pace with our 15-part course on advancing a mission-driven project from idea to execution. And this month, participants can take a workshop on generative AI from the Chief Technology Officer of the City of Boston, study the latest methods in program evaluation from a professor and former White House official, or get support for agile project development from a former governor’s chief of staff.

By nurturing a culture of continuous learning and innovation among public service professionals, we’re not only elevating the standards of public service, but also rekindling the essence of a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” And through our comprehensive programs and support from those like Google.org, we’re helping transform how the government operates and interacts with the communities it serves.



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