As a third year student at Macalester College with who’s curious about technology and startups, I take special interest in Minnesota’s future.
Two months ago, I began interning with Code for America (CfA) — an organization based in San Francisco, CA which helps cities across America use web technology to do a better job of providing services to citizens.
We believe that by understanding and leveraging modern technologies, that local governments can become more efficient, transparent, and participatory.
Initially, CfA and local city managers identify unique projects that can benefit from Internet-based solutions. Once analyzed and funded, each city project is connected with a web development team (aka fellows) that can further scope the project, develop an action plan, and deliver an appropriate solution over an 11-month development cycle. CfA mentors, trains, and coordinates the teams and facilitates their relationships with city management clients.
Last month, CfA began its inaugural fellowship program of 20 fellows working with four cities: Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington DC. For example, in Boston, fellows will build an educational services platform, allowing developers to build applications with the goal of improving high school attendance — think an EDU app store. In Seattle and Philadelphia, they’ll be developing a civic engagement portal, allowing citizens to get involved in identifying means of making their cities a better place to live. Every city has its own needs and the projects are as unique as the cities they serve.
As a reader of TECHdotMN, you can understand and appreciate the enormous power of modern technology platforms; I personally see Code for America as an opportunity for the Twin Cities to embrace a form of innovation that’s designed to directly improve the quality of life throughout Minnesota.
If this isn’t the ultimate purpose of technology, then what is?
The application window to apply for CfA’s 2012 fellowship is open now through March 1st. To find out more information and get involved, go to our Citizen Action Center or email Alissa Black, CfA’s Government Relations Director, at alissa [at] codeforamerica [dot] org.