Governor McAuliffe announces data internships

economic-forecast-headerGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced on Thursday that Virginia state government and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business have joined forces to establish data re-engineering internships to explore additional uses of data to improve effectiveness and efficiency of state government.

“These data re-engineering internships will provide a unique opportunity for graduate students to collaborate with chief information officers (CIOs) of several states agencies,” Governor McAuliffe said. “The teams will evaluate available data with the goal of improving operational effectiveness, recommending specific approaches and providing estimated savings.”

The internships will be based on exercises used by VCU Associate Professor Peter Aiken. Pairs of VCU students will work closely with the CIOs to identify specific business cases where data can be used. The internships will be piloted this fall.

“”VCU welcomes the opportunity for our School of Business colleagues to participate in this important initiative that benefits the Commonwealth as well as our students,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “Through these internships, our students will get hands-on practice in the development of data-centric systems, while state agencies will have a solid business case for implementing data-centric practices in their organizations. This is a valuable partnership that enhances student success while advancing Virginia.”

Governor McAuliffe has asked Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson and CIO of the Commonwealth Sam Nixon to lead the effort on behalf of the state.

Class participants will gain practical experience using data to drive re-engineering. At the end of the semester, participating CIOs will have concrete examples of how to make better use of data to provide innovative and less costly services to citizens.

The internships support Governor Terry McAuliffe’s initiative announced earlier this year to provide easy access to Virginia’s open data, and keep Virginians informed of major initiatives that take advantage of big data. The internships also support treating data as an enterprise asset, one of four strategic goals of the enterprise information architecture strategy adopted by the Commonwealth in August 2013.

Citizens will benefit because the quality of data impacts the quality of decisions made by the various state agencies. These decisions, in turn, directly improve the speed and quality of delivery of services to citizens.  This approach will enable the Commonwealth to identify opportunities to avoid duplicative costs in collecting, maintaining and using information; and the ability to integrate services across agencies and localities to improve responses to constituent needs and optimize government resources.