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Not as bad as feared, but still tight

Government technology leaders can anticipate having to navigate tightened budgets as the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain their states and localities, NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson and Public Technology Institute Executive Director Alan Shark said yesterday. While Robinson said the economic outlook for states is not quite as grim as it was in the early days of the pandemic, IT agencies should expect to have fewer financial resources in the near future, even as the need for investments in automation and remote productivity software continues to grow. Benjamin Freed reports.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Civic tech for mental health

New York City announced the winners of its civic tech competition to improve mental health in underserved neighborhoods, awarding $20,000 each to two companies providing AI-powered chatbots and digital health-management platforms. The competition was designed by the Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the city's Economic Development Corporation to bring mental health services to the Upper Manhattan neighborhoods of Inwood and Washington Heights. Ryan Johnston has details.

Minnesota launches COVID-19 vaccination data dashboard

As states progress through the early phases of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Minnesota officials yesterday announced the launch of a new online tool to help track their efforts. The dashboard contains data, most of which is updated daily, on the number of Minnesotans who have received a vaccine, those who have completed their two-shot series and the state's overall vaccine supply. “We wanted to share this information in a meaningful way, a way that helps shape opportunities for improved vaccine delivery and provides clear insight into the decision-making process,” Minnesota CIO Tarek Tomes said. Colin Wood reports.

VR, digital assistants among projects in first STIR Labs cohort

Seventeen cities have announced partnerships with research universities to study solutions to common urban problems like climate change, transportation, housing and civic technology through CityInnovate’s STIR Labs program, the group announced. The program was conceived to diversify the research community that governments rely on, including encouraging cities to look at local universities for help in solving community problems, said Susana Benavidez, CityInnovate’s chief strategy officer. Ryan has more.

How a rapid move to remote work refined cyber in local government

For cybersecurity leaders in local governments across the U.S., the rapid move to remote work marked a big shift in information security operations, especially in smaller departments with limited resources. The latest episode of the LocalSmart Awards podcast series focuses on the city and county CISOs who've tried to manage the risks and vulnerabilities that comes with a diffuse, remote workforce. “You know the word challenge, challenging is an understatement,” Houston CISO Chris Mitchell says during the podcast. Listen to the podcast.

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