State Government Departments Offer Cash Awards for Innovation

Legislature-Created Contests Offer Innovators up to $25,000

25kfindanewway

SACRAMENTO – A trio of state department heads on Tuesday announced a set of contests in which Californians can win up to $25,000 for ideas to improve transportation and sustainable government practices, and help prevent underage drinking. They were joined at the State Capitol by the Los Angeles lawmaker who wrote the bill creating the innovation contests.

The directors of Caltrans, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and the Department of General Services (DGS) announced the “$25K Find a New Way” contests, which stem from legislation by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (AB 2138), which was signed into law last September by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

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 Caltrans will award up to $25,000 to the Californian with the best unique idea with the highest likelihood of being successfully put into action that will improve the state’s transportation system. All California residents are eligible to apply except for current and retired state employees and their immediate families. Applications for the Caltrans contest will be accepted beginning August 25. Deadline: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.  DGS and the Government Operations Agency will award up to $25,000 to Californians who participate in its “GreenGov Challenge,” an open data code-a-thon to be held October 24 – 25, which will engage the civic coding community to better show the work the state is doing to combat climate change. Participants will focus on creating apps, visualizations, and other tools that can help improve government sustainability practices. The contest is open to California residents and individuals who are 18 years of age or older as of the date of entry. State employees are not eligible to enter.  ABC will award up to $25,000 to the Californian(s) with the best unique idea(s) about how the department can more effectively and efficiently prevent or reduce underage drinking. All California residents are eligible to apply except for current and retired state employees and their immediate families. Applications for the ABC contest will be accepted beginning August 25. Deadline: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty, whose contest seeks the best idea for improving the state’s transportation system, said, “Californians have contributed some of the best transportation solutions in the country and we look forward to putting a great idea into action.”

“As the state deals with the on-going impacts of environmental change and the drought, we in state government are seeking out innovative ways to better promote sustainability,” said Daniel C. Kim, Director of DGS. “This code-a-thon allows us to leverage the creativity of the civic coding community to better show the work the state is doing to combat climate change.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for Californians to possibly win an award for submitting new ideas to reduce or prevent underage drinking or develop new ways to limit youth access to alcohol. We are looking for out of the box solutions and creative strategies to improve these efforts,” said ABC Director Timothy Gorsuch.

“The people of California are resourceful and inventive,” said Gatto. “Incentives like this can showcase Californians’ creative solutions to some of the state’s most pressing issues.”

Visit http://www.findanewway.ca.gov (or the departments’ individual websites) to enter. More information is available on social media via hashtag #25KFindANewWay.

You can view a video of the announcement press conference below:

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