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Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor Peter M. Rivera, Commissioner

NYS Department of Labor Wins Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year Award

Agency Leverages Web 2.0 Tools Like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube To Engage Millions of New Yorkers

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Albany, NY (September 23, 2010) -

New York State Chief Information Officer and Director of the Office for Technology Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart announced the New York State Labor Department (DOL) as the inaugural winner of the CIO/OFT "Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year Award."  The Award recognizes the state agency that best pioneers innovative uses of Web 2.0 technologies to advance their agency's core mission, to better serve their constituents, and to foster more open government and engagement for a better New York. 

"I am pleased to congratulate the New York State Department of Labor on being selected as our first recipient of the Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year Award.  Through New York's Empire 2.0 Initiative, launched by CIO/OFT in 2009, state agencies are increasing their adoption of collaborative and social networking tools to work smarter and faster.  With growing demands to engage citizens and limited state IT resources, Web 2.0 tools and social networking technologies are great affordable options that enable the state to increase operational efficiency and maximize value to New York's taxpayers by staying at the forefront of the Digital Economy," said Governor David A. Paterson.

"Congratulations to the New York State Department of Labor on receiving the first Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year Award," said Dr. Mayberry-Stewart.  "The Labor Department stood out as the best among state agency innovators nominated for their innovative use of social media tools to engage the citizens and businesses they serve.  They have clearly embraced the Empire 2.0 Strategy and their constituents are reaping the benefits."

The New York State Department of Labor incorporated Empire 2.0 technologies as an integral part of their outreach strategy to connect with the state businesses and citizens.  Empire 2.0 technologies helps the agency reach millions of New Yorkers at no cost.  Today, the Department has almost 6,000 Facebook fans and Twitter followers.  To address the huge volume of questions received on various unemployment extension programs and filing deadlines, the Labor Department leveraged Web 2.0 tools to create an unemployment Insurance calculator.  Since January 2010, this page has received 1.6 million visitors, including 41,000 on July 23, 2010 alone.

Also, the Labor Department uses creative video announcements on YouTube to deliver key messages on important topics from the Labor Commissioner or other agency subject matter experts.

State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner said, "Through Web 2.0 technologies, we've opened the doors here at the Labor Department and shown all New Yorkers what's inside.  I'd like to thank New Yorkers for making this award happen for us; you told us what you wanted to see and in turn, we listened.  This award is living proof of what happens when communication between government and the people is a true two-way street."

Empire 2.0 technologies enables the Labor Department to be more transparent, accountable and customer centric.  The tools help the Department to be more responsive to constituent needs.  There is an open dialogue where the Department listens to criticisms and fixes problems and mitigates issues because of the direct feedback from New Yorkers.  In addition, the Department's website has been identified by neighboring states, i.e. New Jersey, as a "model" and "best practice" website.

To meet today's demands and anticipate future needs, New York State launched the Empire 2.0 Initiative in June 2009.  Empire 2.0 is New York State's social media strategy designed to enhance customer transactions and experience of social media networking with state government, increase transparency into government operations, and enhance citizen engagement.  In August, CIO/OFT furthered that initiative by launching a new website called Empire 2.0 Center of Excellence, a "one-stop" Center that provides resources and tools about social media and Web 2.0 technologies and best practices in the industry.  To visit the Empire 2.0 Center of Excellence website visit www.empire-20.ny.gov.

Citizen self-service e-government applications enables governments to provide services in new ways, to use accessible information never previously envisioned, and to provide greater services to citizens, businesses and visitors while meeting the ever-increasing demand for greater effectiveness and cost efficiency.  The ongoing challenge is to provide excellent citizen service and secure access to important information, while reducing costs, risks, and technical complexity.  State governments must find ways to connect, create, and collaborate with all key stakeholders.

The Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year embraces the principles of the Empire 2.0 Strategy, which are to Connect, Create, and Collaborate, by setting a high bar of IT excellence in the use of Web 2.0 social media technologies in state government to improve service delivery, enhance professional development, and promote collaboration among all relevant stakeholders.

To learn more about the exciting things the New York State Labor Department is doing with social media visit their website at www.labor.ny.gov/home.

About CIO/OFT

The State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) provide statewide IT strategic direction, IT policy and centralized IT services to the state and its governmental entities. CIO/OFT provides IT enterprise services to support the missions of state agencies by operating four mainframe data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including more than 90,000 telecom users, 50 statewide mission-critical applications, a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber, including IT operations, telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing. In addition, the agency has a world renowned project management practice, operates a first class technology academy for NY government entities and e-learning program for groups, operates a 24/7 customer care center, develops and supports web applications and assists with application development. For more information, visit http://www.cio.ny.gov.

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