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Virginia Shows Commitment to Improving State IT by Extending Data Internship Program

The Commonwealth was so impressed by the first year of work between graduate students and state agencies that it has brought the program back for a second year.

Virginia showed its ongoing dedication to bolstering state IT by continuing its data internship initiative into the 2015–16 school year. Gov. Terry McAuliffe established the program last year to enhance government efficiency, and the first year proved to be so effective that the state will recruit another batch of graduate interns to help implement IT best practices.

The program’s first year saw 45 graduate students from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business work with more than 20 state agencies. Specifically, students collaborated with state agency CIOs to highlight areas where data could be used as solutions to certain business cases. This gave the CIOs a fresh take on problem-solving, and allowed the students to apply their education in the field.

In a press release from the governor’s office, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Deputy Commissioner and CIO Dave Burhop said the creative spin used by students was refreshing.

“Working with the talented VCU students gave us a different perspective on what the data was telling us,” Burhop explained.

Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services Commissioner Jim Rothrock emphasized how eye-opening it was working with the interns.

“Our interns challenged us and the way we interpret data,” he said. “It was [refreshing and useful], and we cannot wait for new experiences with new students.”

The internship program is also in line with McAuliffe’s plan to improve the accessibility of open data across the state, according to a StateScoop article. In 2013, the concept of turning data into an enterprise asset became one of Virginia’s top enterprise-information priorities, so the internship is on par with a state mission to cut costs and reallocate resources within agencies.

“The program has helped the state save time and money by making some of our internal processes more efficient and modern,” McAuliffe revealed, noting that he “[looks] forward” to seeing the strides that can be made in year two.

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Aug 12 2015

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