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Database Highlights Public Sector Innovation

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A new University of Michigan online database provides examples of excellence in the public sector and highlights innovative programs launched by state and local governments, school systems and others nationwide.

Created by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the UM Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the Public Sector Excellence database aggregates information from competitive award programs around the country run by organizations including the Alliance for Innovation, the National League of Cities, and the International City/County Management Association.

The CLOSUP database is designed to foster public sector innovation in Michigan and elsewhere in order to help cash-strapped state and local governments continue to provide quality services.

“The problems facing local and state governments today are more complex than ever, at the same time that the recession has forced agencies to take major cuts in funding. In this environment, it is imperative that the public sector find more effective and more efficient ways to deliver quality services” said Brian Jacob, director of CLOSUP.  “Innovation is now widely recognized as a core component for success in the private sector.  But while public sector innovation has received less attention, in fact, government agencies across the country are innovating to address today’s new challenges. We wanted to highlight the best examples of public sector excellence to inspire and inform public leaders across Michigan.”

The CLOSUP database includes many examples of excellence and innovation from around the nation. The city of Long Beach, Calif., for example, recently launched a career center and workforce development program for at-risk youth. The city worked with teens and a wide variety of community organizations to develop the program — eliciting their feedback and incorporating their opinions throughout the process.

And before the federal stimulus plan was created, leaders in Sarasota County, Fla., took action to counter the severe economic problems hitting that community by gaining support for a local stimulus package to quickly create jobs and generate business activity.

Among many additional examples, other award-winning programs featured in the “Public Sector Excellence” database include a satellite based water conservation program in Idaho, citizen involvement initiatives in Tallahassee, Fla., and a neighborhood renaissance program for distressed inner-city areas in Savannah, Ga.

The database is available on the CLOSUP website at http://closup.umich.edu.

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