Two Georgia initiatives were named finalists in the 2021 State IT Recognition Awards. The highly competitive annual National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) awards recognize initiatives that demonstrate the innovative use of IT in state government to solve business problems and create opportunities to connect citizens more easily to government services. The projects will be honored on October 12 during the NASCIO annual conference.

"Technology and collaboration are two crucial components in providing the services Georgians want and need," said Shawnzia Thomas, Georgia chief information officer and Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) executive director. "It is both gratifying and humbling to be recognized for the work we do every day to enhance the lives of our fellow residents through IT."

Georgia's broadband map is a finalist in the category of Data Management, Analytics, and Visualization. With the map, the state set out to identify residential and business addresses that lack broadband access. When it debuted in June 2020, the map set a new gold standard in broadband access mapping and made Georgia the first state to map availability down to the street-address level. GTA coordinated the big data exercise, accomplished with the help of public-private partnerships. The new map will help more Georgians gain access to broadband that, today, is enmeshed with economic development, education, healthcare, and more.

An identity authentication initiative implemented by the Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) is a finalist in the category of Business Process Innovations. The project sought to combat unauthorized access to unemployment insurance (UI) as the agency faced an influx of claims due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of an upgrade of its UI benefits payments system, DOL introduced integration with ID.me, a software-as-a-service (SAAS) solution that provides secure identity verification and a unique federally certified digital identity. Implemented in September 2020, ID.me complemented and enhanced DOL's existing fraud prevention applications and enabled the agency to manage costs.

NASCIO is the nation's leading resource for state CIOs and a prominent advocate for technology policy at all government levels. Its State IT Recognition Awards are widely considered the most prestigious and sought-after awards presented to state government IT executives.

For a list of all NASCIO State IT Recognition Awards finalists, visit the NASCIO website.