January 2013




Kentucky's Commonwealth Energy Control and Management System (National Association of State Facilities Administrators 2012 Innovations Award winner) -- "Uses a groundbreaking software platform to track energy usage in state buildings, monitor and maintain building systems, electronically audit current and historical utility bills and automatically generate alerts if energy usage exceeds preset parameters." The system has reduced energy use in state buildings by up to 40 percent and saved the state hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in utility costs. The system is currently active at 23 sites across the state. An energy dashboard website allows visitors to track the amount of energy, greenhouse gases, and taxpayer dollars saved.




EDUCAUSE defines Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as “Online courses that are free and open to anyone, with essentially unlimited enrollment.” EDUCAUSE reports “Initial MOOCs have often been from disciplines that lend themselves to quantitative assessment, such as engineering, computer science, and math. However, MOOCs are becoming applicable to all fields as the platforms enable assessment methods such as peer review. MOOCs present an opportunity for institutions to experiment with extending their brand or to diversify their instructional portfolio, and they might also catalyze new approaches to credentialing.” The Center for College Affordability & Productivity reports " Colorado State University’s Global Campus recently became the first American university to decide to grant transfer credits to students who have completed a massively open online course (MOOC). Specifically, they are granting credit to those students who completed Udacity’s Introduction to Computer Science: Building a Search Engine and took a proctored test. This is a small, but very significant step in the quest to get the learning undertaken in online MOOCs to be recognized by major American universities as credit-worthy."

Four entities lead developing MOOCs: Coursera, edX, Udacity, and Udemy.  




Wind for Schools Project (National Association of State Energy Officials Energy Program Best Practice) -- The U.S. Dept. of Energy states "The general approach of the Wind for Schools project, is to install small wind turbines at rural elementary and secondary host schools while developing Wind Application Centers at higher education institutions." This map locates current projects at K-12, community colleges, higher education institutions, and shows the states participating in the program under the guidance of Wind Powering America.




CMS Innovation Advisors - According to the CMS, "Crucial to the efforts of transforming the healthcare system is supporting individuals who can test and refine new models to drive delivery system reform. The Innovation Center seeks to deepen the capacity for transformation by creating a network of experts in improving the delivery system for Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. In December 2011, the CMS selected 73 individuals out of 920 applications through a competitive process to participate in the initiative. The first group of Innovation Advisors started their six-month intensive orientation and applied research period in January 2012."


Food Cowboy. The U.S. EPA reports "Around 35 million tons of food waste was generated, in 2010, 97 percent of which was thrown away into landfills or incinerators. More than 14 percent of households in the U.S. were food insecure, in 2009, meaning they did not know where their next meal would come from. Wasted food means wasted money for businesses and residences.

Food decomposes in landfills to generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Wasted food has economic, environmental, and social impacts. Much of this waste is not waste at all, but actually safe, wholesome food that could potentially feed millions of Americans. Excess food, leftovers and scraps that are not fit for consumption and donation can be recycled into a nutrient-rich soil amendment." Food Cowboy participates in the EPA's Food Recovery Challenge. Food Cowboy "uses location-based technology to offer food rescue and disposal services to food companies anywhere in the supply chain, anywhere in the country."




Washington Veterans Benefits Enhancement Project -- This partnership between the state Health Care Authority and the state dept. of veterans affairs uses data from the federal Public Assistance Reporting Information System (PARIS) to identify and refer low-income veterans, active duty service
members and their families, who qualify for Medicaid, to VA HEALTH, TRICARE or CHAMPVA, which are federally funded. These federal programs often provide more generous benefits than Medicaid, particularly for long-term care. The Washington project has helped more than 4,000 veterans and their families since it started in 2004, and it has saved the state more than $30 million. The average savings per veteran per month is running close to $450. Washington was the first state to launch this initiative. Governing magazine cited the project as a model for other states. The concept has been endorsed by several other organizations, including the Kaiser Family Foundation and U.S. Medicine. Project staff says about two dozen other states are establishing similar programs.



December 2012



Washington State Workforce Data & Trends Website (2012 NASPE Communications Award Winner) -- "Workforce data and trends give employers context when developing strategies for managing and developing a high performing workforce. Workforce data and planning is about improving business performance by anticipating human resource needs, planning and executing workforce strategies, and monitoring success." The data on this site is organized under Workforce at a Glance; Workforce Profile; Compensation; Talent Acquisition; Retention; Employee Performance Management; and Employee Satisfaction.




Southern Regional Education Board -- High Schools That Work -- "More than 1,200 High Schools That Work (HSTW) sites in 30 states and the District of Columbia currently use the framework of HSTW Goals and Key Practices to raise student achievement and graduation rates.HSTW is nationally recognized for its effectiveness and has led to several related school improvement initiatives. Chief among them, Making Middle Grades Work has helped make SREB states among the first in the nation to implement strategies that help students make stronger academic transitions into high school. Technology Centers That Work helps career/technology centers in SREB states improve student readiness for college and careers."




Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) -- "DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, federal, local, and utility incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council."




Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovations -- Medicaid Incentives Program for the Prevention of Chronic Diseases -- "Section 4108 of the Affordable Care Act authorizes grants to States to provide incentives to Medicaid beneficiaries of all ages who participate in prevention programs and demonstrate changes in health risk and outcomes, including the adoption of healthy behaviors. The initiatives or programs are to be comprehensive, evidence-based, widely available, and easily accessible. The programs must use relevant evidence-based research and resources. An application by a State for a grant under the program must address one or more of the following prevention goals: tobacco cessation, controlling or reducing weight, lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and avoiding the onset of diabetes or in the case of a diabetic, improving the management of the condition. The following States were awarded grants based upon their proposal. They include statewide and non-statewide program areas in urban and rural locations: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Wisconsin."




National Institute of Corrections -- National Jail Exchange -- "A Low-Demand Homeless Shelter Relieves Jail Crowding: Pinellas County’s Safe Harbor" -- “Low-demand” homeless shelters (also known as first-step programs or courtyards) have proved very effective in reducing the number of chronic homeless and serial inebriates in general jail populations. A new first-step homeless shelter in Pinellas County takes this concept a step further. In a partnership with the Florida Department of Corrections, the county’s Safe Harbor facility is also used as the first step for prison inmates who are re-entering the community."


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