New York State Digital Service Program Launches at the Digital and Media Services Center

Contact Information: 
Alicia Biggs
Jennifer Pahlka, Founder of Code for America, Will Help Lead Selection Team; Former U.S. CTO Megan Smith to Advise Creation of Program; Applications Now Being Accepted
Friday, March 13, 2020

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) and Office of General Services today announced the creation of the New York State Digital Service (https://ogs.ny.gov/new-york-state-digital-service), a pilot program that will recruit mid-career technologists specializing in software development, product management, human-centered design or related fields to State service. Recruited technologists will serve for 18-month stints in government that will help modernize the State's digital footprint and drive best-in-class social service delivery. Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, will play an integral role in the selection process. The Digital Service will help guide and support the work of the New York State Digital and Media Services Center. 

Every day, New Yorkers engage with more and more digital government services, and the team at New York State's Digital and Media Services Center will improve the experience of using these digital services and make information provided by the State more engaging and easier to find. Technologists who are looking for a way to use their skills to make a difference for 19.5 million New Yorkers are encouraged to apply for the New York State Digital Service.

Deputy Secretary for General Government, Technology & Innovation and Interim Chief Information Officer of the Office of Information Technology Services Jeremy Goldberg said, "I'm thrilled that the team at the Digital and Media Service Center and the members of the NYS Digital Service will work in concert with the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS). This collaboration will not only bolster ITS' work with agency partners to produce measurable, high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results for resident-facing applications and websites, but also institutionalize our teams' culture of iterative learning and testing what works."

Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "The success of our Excelsior and Empire Fellows programs has proven that attracting private sector expertise to State government results in better services for our residents and the Digital Service program will be no different. The Digital and Media Services Center will create exceptional campaigns and new digital products to help ensure the people of New York State are getting the most up-to-date information where, when, and how they need it."

The pilot program will kick off with the selection of three individuals through an application process that will be led by industry experts, including Pahlka, who will help identify and interview candidates. Applications are due by April 10, 2020.  Selected individuals will be notified of their appointments by July 2020 and begin their work in September 2020. Those selected will collaborate with our existing State team on the agile delivery of websites and digital services. The Digital Service members will also introduce best practices from the industry to promote a lasting creative culture.

Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, said, "Government services are among the most important in our lives. Yet, until the advent of teams like the United States Digital Service, government hasn't been positioned to take advantage of the benefits of the digital revolution. The creation of the New York State Digital Services program will enable New York to use the principles and practices of the digital age to serve its people better, faster, and cheaper while strengthening trust in government at a time when it is badly needed. This is a huge step in the right direction for New Yorkers and will put them at the center of government services."

Megan Smith, CEO of shift 7 and a former U.S. Chief Technology Officer who served under President Obama, said, "New York is getting in on the ground floor with several other states working to expand effective civic tech capabilities. This embedded New York Digital Service team will collaborate with other government leaders and technologists to together accelerate the State's ability to deliver quality digital services for New Yorkers while significantly stretching budgets using modern practices. As someone who was born and raised in Western New York, I know that the State has always been a leader in innovation. Congratulations to everyone involved in the launch of this program. I encourage experienced technical, data science, product management and design talent to come serve their fellow citizens in a tour of service. I look forward to supporting these teams as they grow and move forward."

The New York State Digital and Media Services Center provides comprehensive creative services to State agencies for website design, digital media strategy, graphics, and broadcast production.  

The New York State Digital Service program is a joint venture of the  Office of Information Technology Services and the Office of General Services. More information about the program can be found here.

About ITS

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) was created in 2012 to transform IT services in an effort to make New York State government work smarter for its citizens and enable the state to be accessible for businesses through the use of technology. ITS provides statewide IT strategic direction, directs IT policy and delivers centralized IT products and services that support the mission of the State. ITS operates data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support statewide mission-critical applications for over 50 Agencies, over 17 million citizen accounts, 120,000 employee accounts, 60,000 phones, 99,000 desktops and laptops, and 3,433 Virtual Desktop remote connections. ITS operates a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber to deliver telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing to State government entities in addition to developing new services in support of citizens, businesses and State Agencies.

For more information, visit https://its.ny.gov and follow us on Twitter @nysits.

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