Introduction Awards Kids Corner Staff Your Guide to Government Services Links Contact Us What Others Are Saying Access America E-Gov E-Zine
DisAbility Workers Business FirstGov TradeNet Seniors Students Archives Search Government Benefits Government Processes Home International Trade Index Intergovernmental Criminal Justice Business Tax Filing Training Tools to Operate Technology Acquistion Information Technology Worldwide Environment ExportingFederal PaymentsPrivacy & Security Government Services Business ServicesPublic Safety Email Me InfrastructureProductivity The Job Page    

The Government of the Future, Here Today

Thirteen Federal Semifinalists for Innovations Awards
Offer e-Government at its Reinventing Best
By Charles Rombeau

June 28, 2000

The use of information technology was predominant in an overwhelming majority of the 21 federal government initiatives named as semifinalists for this year’s prestigious 2000 Innovations in American Government Awards program. Thirteen of the 21 projects are already completely accessible on the World Wide Web. From search agents to software downloads, these initiatives, and their web sites, are setting the standard for the new e-government in the making.

Although most federal agencies provide at least some level of web services, these innovative web-centered programs — selected in part as models for others -- are providing better quality government services to citizens at lower costs.

The 21 federal programs are among a total of 96 government jurisdictions named as semifinalists from among 1,300 applications. The 96 range in size from large federal agencies to small rural counties.

Started in 1986, the Innovations Awards are sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. The awards recognize government initiatives that are original and effective. The rigorous selection process is based on four criteria that are used to evaluate each application: originality of the approach; effectiveness in addressing important problems; value of services to clients; and the potential for replication in other jurisdictions.

In early September, the National Selection Committee will name 25 finalists. On October 13, 2000, they will announce the ten winners who are then awarded $100,000 each from the Ford Foundation. The remaining 15 finalists will each receive $20,000.

Here are the websites of 13 of the 21 federal semifinalists:

American FactFinder

Census Bureau

Department of Commerce
The Bureau of the Census, at the millennium, is re-examining its responsibilities for making its trove of societal data accessible to users. American FactFinder provides versatile, pervasive access to its wealth of societal data, without tedious manual searching of immense paper documents or CD-ROM compilations.

Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative
Office of Solid Waste & Emergency Response

Environmental Protection Agency
The Brownfields Initiative empowers citizens and encourages innovative methods of cleaning and safely reusing blighted properties. It reflects a new model of environmental protection which creates economically viable, environmentally sound, self-sustaining communities.

Community College Institute
Office of Science

Department of Energy
The Community College Institute was created to provide the largest population of undergraduate students in our country with science/technical experience that would bring them into the mainstream of the workforce. This goal was accomplished by incorporating new Internet technologies, grassroots recruiting, and on-going communications among students, faculty, laboratory scientists, and DOE program managers.

Enterprise Initiative
Forest Service

Department of Agriculture
The Forest Service has proven it can transform the way it works. Applying solid business principles, it has implemented an innovative program that engenders increased efficiencies and market-based incentives, benefiting management and employees.

Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking
Office of Environmental Information

Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) is an interagency program that works with communities to provide residents with current and reliable local environmental information. EMPACT projects provide information to millions of people in the United States enabling them to make informed decisions about activities and behaviors as they relate to environmental conditions and concerns.

Environmental Technology Verification Program
Office of Research and Development

Environmental Protection Agency
By working with public and private sector partners to make credible environmental technology information available to decision makers, the Environmental Technology Verification Program enables more widespread adoption of improved technology to meet the national goal of protecting human health and the environment.

Fast Track Program
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics) Department of Defense
Fast Track is a bold experiment in public-private collaboration to enable small companies to develop commercially successful new technologies.

HOPE VI Mixed-Finance Public Housing
Public and Indian Housing

Department of Housing and Urban Development
HOPE VI is transforming the fundamentals of public housing in the United States by using public and private development resources to replace the bleak, isolated public housing of the past with attractive new mixed-income communities. HOPE VI partnerships help residents achieve self-sufficiency and spur housing authorities to higher standards of housing design, finance, and management.

Interactive Software Advisors
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Department of Labor
The Advisors are a suite of expert software programs available for free on OSHA’s web site. They enable businesses to answer a few simple questions and receive reliable answers on how volumes of government regulations apply to their unique workplaces.

Partnership for a Sustainable Campus

Office of Administration & Resources Management

Environmental Protection Agency
In building its largest facility outside Washington, the EPA decided to create a model of sustainable design and construction. The result is a state-of-the-art, sustainable campus that provides tremendous educational opportunities, encourages market development of more sustainable products and services, and demonstrates that environmental and economic objectives can be met without compromising quality.

Service First
Bureau of Land Management

Department of the Interior

Service First merges the services of the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service at the local level. It is a model for how several natural resource agencies and jurisdictions may overcome significant statutory, policy, and operational barriers to provide a single, common sense source of service to taxpayers and citizens, while protecting the integrity and productivity of government-owned lands.

Trademark Electronic Application System
Patent and Trademark Office

Department of Commerce
The Patent and Trademark Office provides access to a comprehensive, interactive web-based electronic application that enables all users, from those with little trademark knowledge to experienced attorneys, to file for federal trademark registrations on-line.

Office of Community Planning and Development

Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Youthbuild program offers a comprehensive approach to ending joblessness by combining academic and vocational training for high school dropouts while producing homes for low-income persons.

For More Information

The John F. Kennedy School of Government

The Ford Foundation

The Council for Excellence in Government

Related Resources

Twenty-One Federal Initiatives Named Semifinalists for Innovations Awards

Compiled by Charles Rombeau. Charles is an intern with the communications team of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government. E-mail questions or comments to