US Digital Response to aid state, local governments with IT workforce challenge

The nonprofit civic tech group U.S. Digital Response announced it's expanding its efforts to assist state and local governments in recruiting and retaining skilled IT workers.
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The nonprofit civic tech group U.S. Digital Response is leading a new initiative to assist state and local government agencies hire and retain staff with digital skills.

The group announced the new workforce program last week, aimed at providing guidance for hiring, best recruitment practices and onboarding retention programs. USDR leaders said they’ve already assisted some state and local agencies in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Indiana. The initiative is also designed to engage potential candidates to share information about government technology careers, according to an Oct. 18 announcement.

“We have seen firsthand the challenges many governments face in attracting and retaining digital talent,” Hillary Hartley, USDR CEO, said in the release. “With this new focus area, we aim to directly support governments in building skilled, diverse and innovative digital teams who can meet the public’s needs now and into the future.”

According to one recent study, 64% of state and local government human resource officers reported they struggled to fill IT positions.


According to the announcement, USDR has spent the past year working with city and state governments interested in staff hiring more staff with skills for digital services and benefits systems, such as user research, design and product management.

“The volunteers helped us craft hiring plans, job descriptions and training plans,” Denise Linn Riedl, chief information officer of South Bend, Indiana, is quoted as saying in the press release. “Their rich experience across roles and sectors gave us confidence as we managed change and grew our team.”

According to USDR’s announcement, building agencies’ digital capabilities will enable them to be more responsive to their communities’ evolving needs. The group claims Pennsylvania’s CODE PA, a dedicated digital services team Gov. Josh Shapiro announced this past April, as among the projects born out of its work with state and local governments.

“As we focus on delivering better online experiences for our constituents, we are creating new opportunities for digital professionals to bring their skills and experience to the public sector and enjoy incredibly rewarding careers,” Pennsylvania Administration Secretary Neil Weaver said in the release.

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