February 20, 2013 By Tanya Roscorla
For the past year, job preparation for science, technology, engineering and math careers has been at the top of the priority list in The Windy City.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his staff have forged a series of pilots and partnerships that bring STEM education front and center. In the last year, five STEM schools launched with help from partner companies and city colleges. A pilot of Web development courses will start in the fall, and a new partnership with the Navy will provide more STEM education opportunities for students.
"STEM is where the job growth of the future is going to be," said Beth Swanson, deputy chief of staff for education at the mayor's office, "and that's why we've obviously made it a priority here in Chicago on our education reform agenda."
The STEM priority has come from the federal government too. In President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Feb. 12, Obama announced a challenge to redesign high schools so that they prepare graduates for a high-tech economy.
"We'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math — the skills today's employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future," Obama said in his speech.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.