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Technical upskilling program streamlines modernization project delivery across NYC schools

New York School Construction Authority

New York, NY

NYC School Construction Authority is tasked with executing 1,500+ modernization projects across more than 1,800 schools in New York City. To keep up, the IT Department implemented an upskilling program aimed at streamlining processes and enabling all 126 employees to develop coding expertise.

Topics Covered

Civic Technology
Process Improvement
Workforce & Education

Cost

Initial: Zero Upfront Cost

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2022

Gov Champion

New York School Construction Authority IT Department

Problem Addressed

The NYC School Construction Authority IT Department lacked the technical bandwidth to efficiently track its 1,500 active projects.

Responsible for modernizing New York City schools, leaders of the NYC SCA IT department support six verticals, including construction management, architecture and engineering (A&E), capital planning, environmental and regulatory compliance (ERC), finance and HR. Across a team of only 126, the authority is currently managing over 1,500 active projects.

The projects within these verticals vary greatly, and maintaining institutional IT knowledge is essential for completion. Finding innovative new solutions to reduce manual processes and support digital transformation across the organization is equally as important.

For example, the IT team had to work on an electronic content management project that included a new software system & development environment and consequently required proficiency in a programming language that the majority of staff were unfamiliar with. This uncovered a need to upskill and prevent similar barriers.

"Our workforce is extremely knowledgeable about the business, and have built significant trust with our business users. Their skills need to continue to evolve to ensure we’re using the best technology possible and eliminating technical debt,” said Chief Information Officer, Manny Innamorato. “The question is how can we deliver just-in-time, convenient training to folks, laying out what we expect them to learn over the next six months or a year, let them take those courses, and then be able to validate that it occurred?”

Solutions Used

The IT department grew its institutional knowledge through a comprehensive upskilling program.

To maintain institutional IT knowledge while managing 1,500+ projects Innamorato decided to implement Pluralsight. He wanted to encourage momentum for digital initiatives and support overall skill development of his staff.

To address the IT knowledge gap, the team utilized Pluralsight's individualized learning platform for tech skills that features courses, assessments, hands-on practice and virtual workshops. Workshops gave teams custom, collaborative programming labs and Q & A time, which helped the whole team get up to speed on the direction they were moving as a whole. Through Pluralsight, members are learning Angular, DevOps, and object-oriented programming. As licenses are available as a per-person annual subscription, the department could offer individualized training to each staff member.

With the platform's customizability, the department could design specific problems that reflect key challenges they are facing within the context of their projects. Ash Tadros, Director of IT, said, “The workshops helped us apply our new Angular skills within the context of our organization. Plus, it helped teams navigate the mental shift to OOP methodology while giving developers the chance to feed off one another as they took on new development roles.”

Outside of workshops and challenges, many developers continue to use the technology skill development platform to learn new languages and skills at their own convenience.

Outcomes

1

Advanced programming language skills helped decrease time to product development and decision making, leading to less cost incurred at job sites

2

Collaborative workshops allowed developers to work together and bounce ideas off one another

3

The authority was able to remove many paper processes, and reduce the amount of time it takes to create, review, and approve plans with contractors

4

The ability to apply new skills across all verticals they support, like developing analytics capabilities throughout the organization, rather than just in the IT department

5

Ability to provide high quality learning to meet employee demand for upskilling

Something Unique

Responsible for maintaining and modernizing 1,800+ schools and 1.1 million students across the city, NYC School Construction Authority plays a huge role in making education safe for students across the city.

Who Should Consider

IT departments looking to keep their staff and developers up-to-date with various languages and processes while encouraging digital project momentum.

Last Updated

Mar 21st, 2022

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