If you've ever dreamed of a government that's more connected to its citizens, there's a new fellowship that could use your technical smarts. Code for America is seeking applications for its program in Boston, Philadelphia, D.C., Seattle and Boulder to connect city governments with Web 2.0 talent.
Here's how they describe the fellowship:
During the 11-month program, you will not only receive a living-wage stipend, travel expenses, and healthcare, but also the training and support to be positioned as a leader in business, public service, or both. Inside the tech industry and beyond, you will be known as part of a select group of individuals able to realize transformational change to government work better for us all.
Among the potential types of people on the fellowship application are developers, designers, project managers, researchers, data wrangler, system administrators, analysts and community managers. Code for America has some big names behind it, such as founders from Facebook and Twitter, as seen in the "What if" PSA (embedded below).
Also featured in the video is Tim O'Reilly, a Code for America board member. O'Reilly spoke at May's open government event in San Francisco. Techflash quoted O'Reilly at a Code for America event in Seattle:
"I think we have fallen into a trap where we start to think of a government as a giant vending machine. We put in our taxes and we get out services. And the notion of citizen participation is a little bit like shaking the vending machine. It doesn't have the right item in it or it costs too much and we're in there banging away and that's all we think we can do. We forgot that government was originally designed as a mechanism for collective action. It belongs to us. It is us."
Opening public data to developers was a big theme of 2009 and continues to be in 2010. For example, California launched a contest in collaboration with Google, Microsoft, the Center for Digital Government, and our team here at ProgrammableWeb. Our directory lists 64 government APIs, the most popular of which is the Sunlight Labs API.