National Partnership for Reinventing Government

Twenty-One Federal Initiatives Named Semifinalists for Innovations Awards

Federal Semifinalists Dominated by High Impact Agencies, Reinvention Labs, and Hammer Award Recipients

June 1, 2000

Sixteen federal government initiatives that are either Reinvention Labs or projects in High Impact Agencies, or both, were recently recognized as semifinalists for the prestigious 2000 Innovations in American Government Awards program. Five of those sixteen, and seven semifinalists all together, are also recipients of Vice President Gore's Hammer Award. The federal government accounts for 21 of the 96 semifinalists who were selected from a pool of more than 1,300 applicants from federal, state, and local government agencies.

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.

High Impact Agency (HIA) Semifinalists:

American FactFinder (HIA & Hammer Award Winner)
Department of Commerce
Census Bureau

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 (HIA)
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Solid Waste & Emergency Response

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.

Enterprise Initiative (HIA/LAB)
Department of Agriculture
Forest Service

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 (HIA/LAB)
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Environmental Information

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 (HIA)
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development

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 (HIA)
Department of Defense
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics)

Fast Track is a bold experiment in public-private collaboration to enable small companies to develop commercially successful new technologies.

Interactive Software Advisors (HIA & Hammer Award Winner)
Department of Labor

Occupational Safety and Health Administration
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.

National Center for Patient Safety (HIA & Hammer Award Winner)
Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration
Acknowledging that all health care providers make errors, the VA's National Center for Patient Safety has introduced processes that identify, prevent, and fix problems that can result in error, patient injury, or death.

Next Door (HIA)
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of the Secretary
Next Door capitalizes on groundbreaking technology, a new breed of employees, and citizen-friendly office space to bring HUD to the people, instead of making the people come to HUD. Easy-to-use kiosks placed in public spaces (e.g., malls and grocery stores), public computers providing free access to the Internet in every HUD office and storefront, and Community Builders, who are skilled problem-solvers, reach out to ensure that people have the information they need when they need it, in places they frequent.

Partnership for Change (HIA & Hammer Award Winner)
Department of Agriculture
Food and Nutrition Service

Partnership for Change is a unique team of federal, state, and university partners who are devising 'out of the box' solutions to improve the health, nutrition, and living conditions of Americans living in Texas's colonias, some of the poorest communities in the nation.

Partnership for a Sustainable Campus (HIA)
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Administration & Resources Management

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.

Performance Measurement System (HIA)
Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration
The Performance Measurement System has helped move America's largest integrated healthcare system toward its goal of delivering consistent, satisfying, high-quality healthcare to America's Veterans. It holds managers and clinicians accountable for producing healthcare outcomes that meet or exceed national targets and private-sector performance.

Privatization of Federal Investigations (HIA)
Office of Personnel Management
Investigations Service
The privatization of investigations was the first model for transforming a money-losing federal operation into a profitable employee-owned company. This innovation occurred with no service disruption, created significant savings, and protected every employee's job.

Resource Advisory Councils (HIA)
Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management

The Interior Department's Resource Advisory Councils are its citizen-partners, helping to chart a new course for public land management in the western part of the nation. Members are committed to the ideal of finding and building consensus to improve the management of public lands, which belong to all Americans.

Service First (HIA)
Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management

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 (HIA & Hammer Award Winner)
Department of Commerce
Patent and Trademark Office

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.

Other Federal Semifinalists:

Community College Institute (Hammer Award Winner)
Department of Energy
Office of Science

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.

Cooperative Workplace-Based Sampling Program
Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration

The Cooperative Workplace-Based Sampling Program was developed to protect miners from two devastating and wide-reaching occupational illnesses -- silicosis and hearing impairment. It teaches small mine operators how to set up their own noise and silica monitoring systems and how to use the information to improve working conditions.

HOPE VI Mixed-Finance Public Housing
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Public and Indian Housing

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.

National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (Hammer Award Winner)
Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

The National Integrated Ballistics Information Network provides state and local law enforcement partners with state-of-the-art ballistic imaging technology as the cornerstone of a comprehensive approach to reducing firearm-related violence.

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and 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.

Related Sites:
The John F. Kennedy School of Government
The Ford Foundation
The Council for Excellence in Government

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

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