• Priorities Podcast

Fostering diversity in state IT requires ‘vulnerability’

On this week’s episode of the Priorities podcast, Tennessee Chief Information Oficer Stephanie Dedmon says that as state IT leaders prioritize diversity and inclusion in their workforce, they need to be open to the needs of their teams.

Dedmon supports an employee-led Diversity and Inclusion Council that has started tracking staff demographics and developed volunteer and mentorship programs.

The council, and Dedmon’s approach, is referenced in a recent report from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, showing that several state CIOs now list diversity and inclusion among their top priorities when laying out their states’ IT strategies. Yet still, NASCIO says, “state IT has a workforce gap problem.” 

Wyoming’s cybersecurity team, including state Chief Information Security Officer Aaron Roberts and Mikki Munson, the cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection program manager, outline their approach to the new cybersecurity grants available to states as part of last year’s infrastructure law. 

The law requires states to convene committees of subject matter experts and decision makers to determine where the money goes. While DHS prepares guidance on the grant program, states such as Wyoming are figuring out what those committees will look like.

In the news this week:

A school district in Texas has fired an employee suspected of installing cryptocurrency mining devices in school buildings. IT staff in Galveston Independent School District discovered the crypto mining rigs in six school buildings after noticing unusual traffic spikes.

The U.S. Digital Response is adding a new program for local election officials. The nonprofit group, which sprang up during the pandemic to assist governments with digital services, will work with county and local-level election administrators on using open source technologies and applications.  

California’s technology agency has a new plan for the $3.25 billion statewide broadband network that Gov. Gavin Newsom approved last year. One piece of the state’s overall inclusion strategy, the plan outlines 8,700 new miles of fiber to connect regions with poor internet access.

StateScoop’s Priorities Podcast is available every Thursday. Listen to older episodes here.

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Priorities Podcast


Each week, the Priorities Podcast will take you through the latest in state and local government technology news and analysis. The program will explore trending stories throughout the week, as well as feature conversations with top executives across government and industry on things like modernization, emerging technology and digital services.

Hosted by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is the vice president of content and community for StateScoop and EdScoop. He's spent nearly a decade in the government IT market, covering the ins and outs of state and local government, as well as higher education. He started his journalism career in his native Pennsylvania and has also worked as a reporter for Campaigns & Elections magazine.