In just two months, California’s Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) has launched and officially selected four projects from its inaugural application period.
On January 12, 2022, the California Department of Technology (CDT) — which approved the TMF in summer 2021 to fund small efforts that can quickly provide high-value services and fund urgent needs identified by the state’s Stabilization Service — announced that projects from the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the California departments of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and Consumer Affairs (DCA) will move forward.
With an estimated budget of $1.5 million, the California EPA will develop a geospatial dataset that will help the state “more quickly respond to emergencies by identifying locations and jurisdictions of hazardous materials incidents.” Platform development is expected in roughly 6 months; full data population should occur within one year.
In an effort to both expand awareness of open CDCR positions and smooth out the application and hiring process for applicants and state staff, the department will develop a method to “integrate state HR systems with commercial job boards and industry standard recruitment platforms.” The project’s estimated budget is $3.5 million over two years, and it’s expected that the solution will serve as a proof of concept that can extend to other state departments.
The project with perhaps the quickest production time is from the CDFA, which will update the system that tracks companies who can test and repair weight and measurement equipment — such as grocery scales, electric meters and gas pumps (there are nearly 1.85 million such devices registered in California) — and move it online. The project, which has an estimated budget of less than $1 million and is expected in production in a few months, will help companies find a certified agent who can quickly get faulty equipment back online, saving time and lost revenue for the business.
With a projected budget of roughly $400,000, the speech and hearing board within the DCA will move a currently paper-based process — for application, processing and payment for 13 license types — online. Implementation of the first license type is expected within six months, and the remaining 12 will follow over an additional year or so.
These four projects were chosen from a pool of 21 state-submitted project applications, five of which were selected to pitch their projects to a committee of executives from other state agencies and departments. Following the pitch day, these four projects were deemed most suitable for TMF funding.
As Carolyn Nordstrom, deputy director of the CDT’s Project Management Office (PMO), said in December, this is a recurring process.
“We’ll continue while we have money available to invest with the goal of demonstrating to the Department of Finance and the Legislature and others that this is a really successful and viable alternative way to fund certain kinds of technology investments and modernization,” she said during the CDT Vendor Forum on Dec. 8.
The next TMF program application period will open by Spring 2022.