Wisconsin government advocates remote work and new citizen portal

The Wisconsin executive branch is pushing for a digital shift that it says would make state government more accessible to all residents, both as a source of services and as a source of employment.

The state faces imminent talent loss as 40 percent of its workforce nears retirement age, according to the Vision 2030 Plan from the Department of Administration (DOA) and Governor Tony Evers. The administration is looking for a digital toolbox to prepare it to fill this wave of vacancies.

Hiring options have traditionally been limited to those who can report for work every day in state agency buildings – which tend to be in the capital and other major cities, the secretary of state said. DOA, Joel Brennan. Government technology. However, these limited recruitment pools may not be sufficient to meet anticipated needs.


But the pandemic has proven that letting employees work from home gets the job done, Brennan said. Now, the Evers administration aims to capitalize on this dynamic and offer permanent remote positions to allow the state to recruit staff from anywhere in Wisconsin.

Remote working would also make state job openings accessible to residents who live outside of the state’s most populous cities and cannot relocate, helping to ensure that the views of a more many communities are reflected in their government.

“Part of this overall vision of the governor and this administration is…[to hire] people from across the state who represent the very diverse perspectives and great diversity of our state, ”said Brennan.

For example, “from the perspective of the more rural parts of the state, there are talented young people growing up in and around the Native American reservations of Wisconsin, and they have been in some ways crippled by the opportunities for the government to the state.

According to Google Maps, the Oneida Nation reserve is 122 miles from Milwaukee and 141 miles from Madison, which isn’t exactly an easy trip.

The Vision 2030 plan also indicates that allowing long-term remote working options could help the state government better meet the expectations and desires of younger generations, as well as keep up with the private sector, which is expected to continue. to provide permanent homework opportunities. .

DIGITAL ENTRY DOOR

Evers’ plan also calls for rethinking the way the government connects remotely with voters.

The pandemic has made officials more aware of where and how the state’s online setup can create inconvenience for users. Too often, residents have to switch between websites to access various services, using separate logins for each, and they may have to figure out for themselves which agency the program they are looking for belongs to, said Olivia Hwang, deputy assistant secretary of the DOA.

“It’s about meeting people where they are, at different times in their lives, and making sure that we better connect them to resources rather than sending them on a fishing expedition to find these things in different places. agencies, ”she said.

The rambling nature of services is inconvenient for residents who simply want more streamlined experiences when obtaining hunting licenses, etc., but is even more troubling for those who need to quickly obtain a variety of services to regain a stable base.

A person who has lost their job must not only apply for unemployment insurance, but also possibly obtain rent or energy assistance and register for health care now that they are no longer covered by their work, Hwang explained. Browsing through different websites and connections to find the programs that will meet their needs can be a challenge.

“The services are already there for them,” Hwang said, but leveraging them can “often take a lot of time and knowledge of how to access those services”.

The Vision 2030 proposal calls for simplifying the experiences of residents. It would provide a one-stop digital platform – dubbed a ‘digital gateway’ – that voters can visit to find all of the state’s services and allow them to use a single username and word. password for all interactions with the State. This platform could also allow the State to better combine associated services such as the various supports that new unemployed people need.

Brennan said the project was part of a larger arc toward technological modernization in the state, where he said IT has long been severely underfunded.

“[The governor’s administration] inherited from a system where, just in terms of ease of operation and meeting people where they are, as recently as the last year or so I don’t think you can go online and get your sticker to access a Wisconsin state park, ”said Brennan.

NEXT STEPS

Brennan said the governor is committed to the Vision 2030 plan. But how quickly the Digital Front Door project can start and operate is an open question, as it is unclear whether the administration will be able to get it right. dedicated funding.

Evers for fiscal year 2021 to fiscal year 2023 budget proposal called for the formation and funding of a new digital transformation office under the administration department that would be responsible for projects such as the creation of the digital gateway. The budget would be include money to pay an office manager and would fund the costs of consulting services and initial start-up expenses.

The Office of Digital Transformation, however, was among the hundreds of articles that Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee withdrew from the budget in early May during ongoing deliberations.


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